On mobile technology: "The delivery system is there. But we don’t yet know what to deliver."

By Sophie Beauvais | 19 Mar, 2013

NYT piece in the Fixes Blog explores mHealth in developing countries and wonder if it's living up to expectations: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/13/the-benefits-of-mobile-health...

"The moral of this story is perhaps the single most important lesson in mHealth: the technology is the easy part. An mHealth project is just as complicated as any other health project, just with a phone attached."


Mobile Devices



A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 7:04 PM, 19 Mar 2013

Regarding this title: On mobile technology: "The delivery system is there. But we don’t yet know what to deliver." The answer remains; "information that is timely, reliable and complete for the end user". If not the system will not be used. It may sound simple but this is critical for e-health success. Terry Hannan

Jaskaran Singh Replied at 1:19 AM, 28 Mar 2013

Does anyone know if there is a database of mHealth interventions in a format similar to clinicaltrials.gov? It would be very helpful to be able to sort by condition, intervention, and result.

As for the article - perhaps it will temper some of the enthusiasm and save-the-world type language that has been associated with phones?

Rhonda Rosenberg Replied at 12:11 AM, 29 Mar 2013

Hi Jaskaran,

I'm aware of a Cochrane review, which was published in December: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=cochrane+mhealth+interventions

Gavin Andrews Replied at 12:46 AM, 30 Mar 2013

As part of a set of effectiveness papers we have just published the port of a computer based treatment for major depression to mobile phones. We think it is the first proven mobile phone treatment. See attachment about our internet treatment for anxiety and depressive disorders. The reference is on slide 10.

Will Durbin Replied at 11:34 AM, 31 Mar 2013

Gavin -- sounds very interesting, but the attachment didn't come through. Could you send it again (or link to it)? Thanks!

Joaquin Blaya, PhD Moderator Replied at 11:51 AM, 1 Apr 2013

two sites that might be useful are http://hingx.com/ and
mobileactive.orgwhich both have lists of systems that have been
implemented, for some
reason the latter website isn't up and running just now, my guess is some
sort of temporary glitch.

Gerente de Desarrollo, eHealth Systems <http://www.ehs.cl/@@
Research Fellow, Escuela de Medicina de Harvard @@http://hms.harvard.edu/@@
Moderador, GHDOnline.org @@http://www.ghdonline.org/>

Sarah Watts Replied at 11:34 PM, 1 Apr 2013

Hi Will,
Here is the link to the paper describing the mobile phone based treatment for depression that Gavin Andrews mentioned:

Jaskaran Singh Replied at 3:06 PM, 2 Apr 2013

Rhonda - Thank you for the link to the Cochrane review article. The results were certainly underwhelming.

A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 4:30 PM, 2 Apr 2013

I am trying to access the full issue of the Journal of Health Communication that is covered in the attached Editorial. It would seem to be a possible signficant resource. My institution and the others I have links to do not have this publication.

Attached resource:

A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 4:38 PM, 2 Apr 2013

I did not realise I had a "library" on mHealth publications. Here is a PPT from the World Bank. Please let me know if this material is of benefit.

Attached resource:

Barbara Meyer Replied at 5:35 AM, 3 Apr 2013

Thank you, the World Bank power point was really useful!

Tabatha Parker Replied at 6:38 AM, 7 Aug 2013

Could someone repost - the World Bank Powerpoint is not working

Imran Mirza Replied at 3:01 PM, 18 Aug 2013

Could someone please re-post the World Bank Power Point presentation? The link is not working.

stella Nambuya lugalambi Replied at 12:14 AM, 25 Aug 2013

In the case of Uganda, no single m-health pilot (sms solution) was actually launched and followed through to implement a platform that would offer the much needed information to people in regards to, spread , causes, support infection, control and contacts for available health care facilities and service locations.

Let’s take the example of Living Goods,” tying to get its franchisees to track client interactions on mobile phones”. In this case, the pilot was not focused on the need for the rural people which was to avail health information easy to retrieve with an SMS request.

Tracking usage would have been secondary, as mobile users requesting for information would have been automatically recorded on a simple selfcare interface showing all incoming messages. (Interfaces readily provided by sms gateway providers). In cases where the need to have field health workers use mobile texting to report issues, hardware in form of mobile phones to be issued for this purpose and not be dependant on whether health worker has a phone or not.

Joaquin Blaya, PhD Moderator Replied at 11:26 AM, 27 Aug 2013

Hi Tabatha,
I've contacted Terry, the original person who posted the powerpoint and
he'll be back online on Sept. 25 and will post it then.

Gerente de Desarrollo, eHealth Systems <http://www.ehs.cl/@@
Research Fellow, Escuela de Medicina de Harvard @@http://hms.harvard.edu/@@
Moderador, GHDOnline.org @@http://www.ghdonline.org/>

chris macrae Replied at 2:58 PM, 27 Aug 2013

It would be interesting to hear from the partners in health training hospital in Haiti. I know their attitude is we will open source everything we learn how to practice. I am not sure that is the starting point of tech designed mhealth systems though one would hope it would be.

Joaquin Blaya, PhD Moderator Replied at 12:31 PM, 28 Aug 2013

The file has been restored, so you should be able to download it, I just
did and it worked.

Warm regards,

Gerente de Desarrollo, eHealth Systems <http://www.ehs.cl/@@
Research Fellow, Escuela de Medicina de Harvard @@http://hms.harvard.edu/@@
Moderador, GHDOnline.org @@http://www.ghdonline.org/>