Is mHealth delivering in developing countries?

For the past few years, mHealth has been advocated, quite plausibly, as a key part of improved public health in low to middle-income countries. Cell phones are ubiquitous in African countries, and in the West there’s news of potentially revolutionary apps and clinical device attachments at least every month. Now here is another one of those pesky review studies, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. While not dumping a cold bucket of water on these high hopes, the review certainly points out the need for more rigor. Studies to date are heavy on process documentation, few demonstrate impact on outcomes, and lack scale. Most programs involved text/SMS messaging or support tools for community health workers. The review was authored by a team from the Malaria Consortium (UK, Uganda), the Institute of Global Health, University College London, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Mobile Health (mHealth) Approaches and Lessons for Increased Performance and Retention of Community Health Workers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Review (JMIR) Also iHealthBeat and FierceMobileHealthcare

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