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mHealth Technology to Drive Healthcare Management Systems

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The healthcare industry has observed a spike in the use of mHealth technology to provide patient care in a systematic manner to enable pharmacy management, management of chronic care diseases, analysis of patient data and remote patient monitoring. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) reported that 83 percent of physicians are using mobile devices designed for healthcare purposes.

Roughly one-half of consumers in all markets and 60% of consumers in India predict that within the next three years, mHealth will improve the convenience, cost and quality of their healthcare. The range of benefits to using mHealth are numerous- treatment compliance, improved information access and an aggregated pool of data for evidence-based medical practices. The advanced use of healthcare technology paves way for overall better outcomes through a systematic use of the information database in patient care.

  1. Tata Trusts: In order to provide health services to lactating women and children under the age of 2 years, Tata Trusts along with Advancing Reduction in Mortality and Morbidity of Mothers, Children and Neonates (ARMMAN) developed mKhushali, an application designed for village-level Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) and frontline workers under the Ministry of Health. It digitises outdated registers while informing ANMs of upcoming patient appointments, follow up visits and tracking for high-risk patients’ health.

The application contains animated videos to counsel mothers on care and nutrition during pregnancy and lactation, infant care and diet etc. The use of mKhushali enables the flow of information between patients and healthcare providers for rapid action and to address pressing indicators of health for both the mother and child in a timely manner.

  1. BBC Mobile Kunji:

BBC Media Action, along with the Government of India and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation joined forces to develop Mobile Kunji, a multimedia service that helps community health workers make an immediate impact on counselling families. It operates on audio health messages to the family via phone. Mobile Kunji consists of a deck of cards with illustrations and a unique toll-free shortcode on each card that takes the listener to the audiovisual recording that elaborates on the health message that the mobile carries.

More than 44,000 community health workers are already using it. Health workers have accessed over 1 lakh minutes of audio content. The project is being implemented across all 38 districts in Bihar in its next phase.

  1. UNICEF: UNICEF is now using an SMS reporting system through RapidPro, connected to the national information system that provides real-time information to improve their work, monitor supply, and ensure the quality of reporting. Used in parts of Africa as well, it tracks the availability of health and nutritional supplies at a community level.

It aims to make data reporting quicker and of better quality to improve decision-making by the Ministry of Health in order to track children who are ill to provide them with timely treatment, and to prevent shortages in health supplies.

  1. World Vision: World Vision uses MOTECH Suite to support health cadres’ delivery service for timed and targeted counselling, growth monitoring and promotion, and positive deviance. World Vision has successfully rolled out the mHealth technical solution Sishu Janani Seva to improve maternal and health outcomes. The solution helps health personnel spend more time counselling expectant and lactating mothers.

Data collected on the mobiles is synced to a web-based portal that generates charts, graphs and maps that allow effective monitoring.

  1. Mother and Child Education Trust: Mother and Child Education Trust developed HealthPhone, a video reference library and guide to better health and nutrition practices, for families and communities, including the illiterate, in their language, distributed on mobile phones.

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With a vision that information disseminated directly will drastically change lives with regards to nutrition and health, Health Phone serves a large number of low-income communities. Health Phone enables communities to access this information and prevent illnesses, hunger and mental and physical ailments and underdevelopment.

We are glad that smartphones have come a long way. From being dismissed as a health hazard, now the smartphones are being used to better healthcare management.

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