LIVE FROM GSMA-mHA MOBILE HEALTH SUMMIT: The first wave of projects suggest that health education applications are improving the provision of care and levels of knowledge among key medical workers, according to a report published yesterday by the iheed Institute and Dalberg Global Development Advisors. However, it also acknowledges that “the goals for mhealth education must be ambitions, because the challenge is so great,” especially in improving the training of more than 2.1 million current healthcare workers and supporting the training of around 2.6 million new workers.
Published on the eve of the GSMA-mHA Mobile Health Summit, the report notes that the current wave of apps for healthcare workers are mainly intended to provide supplementary support, for example delivering access to reference materials, real-time feedback, and updates about new or improved treatment procedures. Later offerings should be able to reduce costs by offering cheaper alternatives to traditional approaches for training and for disseminating health information.
iheed said that the first wave of mobile health education applications have been pilot projects financed by donors, non-governmental organisations and academic institutions. The next wave will benefit from interest from content producers, mobile operators and device manufacturers. The report suggests that “all actors should prioritise quick deployment of promising innovations over the building of extensive portfolios of pilot projects.”
It was also highlighted that ecosystem participants must coordinate their efforts to develop, test and deploy new mobile health education applications. The protagonists in this case should include governments, healthcare institutions, academia, content creators, mobile operators, device manufacturers, NGOs, philanthropists and investors.
Priorities to be considered include identifying training needs, especially for community health workers, as well as public health information needs, which can be met with m-health apps. The report also calls for the continued test and development of new apps, ideally based on agreed standards and formats, to facilitate the easy sharing of content between applications.