With 5.1 billion unique mobile subscribers on the planet, mobile communication channels including messaging, interactive call centers and helpdesks, mobile apps and websites can reduce the burden on health workers and extend their reach into communities by delivering engaging promotive and preventative health services directly to clients. They are particularly effective at accessing hard-to-reach traditionally underserved groups, such as adolescents, and can strengthen the bridge between communities and primary care.
Over the last two decades, mobile services have been shown to improve health literacy, increase adherence, support monitoring of chronic conditions, and drive healthy behavior change across a diverse range of health conditions and patient groups, including maternal and child health, non-communicable diseases, mental health, and HIV prevention and adherence. They can also deliver content directly to frontline health workers and create channels for their feedback.
However, as technology evolves at a rapid pace, implementers and national governments need to explore frontier technologies like natural language processing and artificial intelligence to cope with the growing volume of user queries and feedback, while maintaining quality.
The Center convenes partners across technology and health sectors to drive this area of innovation forward, harnessing the power of mobile technology to allow communities to be active participants in their own health and to bridge health worker gaps.
- Related Resources
- Free, adaptable mobile-formatted content: Mission Motherhood Messages by BabyCenter
- Free, adaptable mobile-formatted content: COVID-19 Mobile Messages by Thrive Agency
- Publication: “Digital Health in South Africa: The Case of MomConnect past, present and future” BMJ Global Health, April 2018 - Volume 3 - Suppl 2
- Publication: Murthy, Nirmala et al. “The Impact of an mHealth Voice Message Service (mMitra) on Infant Care Knowledge, and Practices Among Low-Income Women in India: Findings from a Pseudo-Randomized Controlled Trial.” Maternal and child health journal vol. 23,12 (2019): 1658-1669.
- Publication: Blauvelt, C et al. “Scaling up a health and nutrition hotline in Malawi: the benefits of multi-sectoral collaboration” BMJ 363 (2018):k4590
- Publication: Gibson, DG et al. “The State of Digital Interventions for Demand Generation in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Considerations, Emerging Approaches, and Research Gaps.” Global Health: Science and Practice Oct 2018, 6 (Supplement 1) S49-S60