Mobiles4health.com portal embraces streamlined mobile solutions and development consultancy services. As a clearinghouse, it offers a great variety of tools on the current use and potential of mobile health, particularly important to reduce health care problems in developing countries.
Mobile devices represent the first ICT tool that has penetrated the most remote areas in developing countries. Nowadays it is widely used in various fields such as money transfer, market, agriculture and weather forecasts.
Many organizations are also implementing technological innovations in the education and health sector. As a corollary, the term “mHealth” comes into play. It stands for the provision of health-related services via mobile communications. A mobile phone is an appropriate technology for enhancing health and health services even in countries with low socio-economic status and poor infrastructure.
Barriers for Mhealth System Implementation
There are different visions and definitions on mHealth depending on the social and economic circumstances. Some of the current barriers for the wider adoption of mHealth in health systems in developing countries are: firstly, scarce evidence on health benefits; secondly, insufficient knowledge on appropriate integration into the health systems, and thirdly, lack of awareness on the potential and limitations of mHealth.
But even though mHealth is a field that is still young, studies are moving and the pace is picking up. Being widely recognized as a promising development, especially in providing improved health care services to poor people and to those living in marginalized areas, the information on and experience with mHealth applications is increasing steadily.
Mobiles4health Platform Mission
Mobiles4health.com is a dynamic and exhaustive portal that offers a great variety of solutions on the current use and potential of mHealth in developing countries.
It focuses on providing consultancy services as well as making available different types of electronic information from various sources, aiming to make the clearinghouse as complete as possible.
The website was established based on the vision that a collaborative platform will enhance the ability of all stakeholders to make informed and evidence-based decisions in expanding the use of mHealth.
Top Mobiles4health Services
Mobile4health offers two main services related to mobile health:
This platform is a repository of information with regards to mobile health projects. Users can find data of different initiatives that have been carried out and developed in this field. To facilitate flow and user´s experience, they are classified into four categories: Disease and Epidemic Outbreak Surveillance, Patient Monitoring and Support, Point-of-Care Support and Diagnostics, and Education and Awareness. All the information and resources are stored and managed centrally in the Mobiles4health database. This clearinghouse has two main functions: For entrepreneurs and organizations who are seeking for new projects to be implemented, it provides information about which ideas and initiatives have already been developed in this field. For those who have already developed a mhealth project, it offers a repository where they can show their development.
Mobiles4health provides consulting services to clients interested in developing a mhealth strategy, evaluating ongoing or future mhealth initiatives or improving their mhealth applications. Its group of consultants and developers will be able to assist any organization or company in the process of detecting the project areas that should be enhanced, identifying functionalities that could be added or removed according to the client´s need, improving technical and design aspects, adapting content, supporting and evaluating implementations, among other tasks.
Mobiles4health Platform Features
Mobiles4health’s main goal is to encourage organizations to create mHealth tools to bridge the gap between health care providers and patients in remote areas. All these mHealth services are particularly important to reduce health care problems.
The portal offers the following services and tools:
Opportunity to request a mHealth application development to carry out a mobile project
Access to consulting services on future or ongoing projects
Possibility to donate funds: Mobiles4Health will use the donation as a fund for operating expenditures by employing mobile technology to create health systems that save more lives
Possibility to donate phones: Mobiles4health accepts any mobile, working or not, and their recycling partner erases all data through a certified and secure process. The phones are refurbished for sale or recycled safely. Mobiles4Health receives the value of each recycled phone to purchase new mobile technology for the field.
Opportunity to become a mHealth expert and become part of Mobiles4health team
Access to new social web tools allowing people to exchange information and views, discuss related issues and network with policy-makers, public and private health service providers, NGOs, private enterprises, international organizations and experts.
Access to informative material including key academic databases, grey literature, research articles, project documentation, presentations, websites, news, views and solutions.
Advantages and Benefits
One of the main advantages of Mobiles4health is that it is a member of Mhealth Alliance, which champions the use of mobile technologies to improve health throughout the world. Working with diverse partners to integrate mHealth into multiple sectors, the Alliance serves as a convener for the mHealth community to overcome common challenges by sharing tools, knowledge, experience, and lessons learned.
There are other benefits of using Mobiles4health:
- Share ideas with experts, organizations and providers from the health sector
- Request useful information in a rapid and user-friendly way
- Consult technical material related to mHealth
- Find examples that help implementing more mHealth services and tools
- Be updated with the latest mHealth news
- Find experts to develop applications tailored to specific needs.
Influence of Mhealth Tools
Self-empowerment and remote monitoring are crucial to lead people to take conscious decisions about their wellbeing and to have a highly efficient communication with health specialists.
The possibility of using mobile communications to give people around the world the power to do basic health and well-being checks and to collect, gather and store information and records in both a reliable and accurate way will be of great value and will probably change our contemporary understanding of healthcare in the next couple of years.
One of the major challenges in the world, which is maternal and child mortality, has been reduced by mHealth services. Another clear example is a study on the use of mobile phones in Kenya that revealed that the use of text messaging improved the performance of health workers and led to better results than other means of communication; overall, the improvement range is between 11 – 30 percent.
Mobile technology represents a high-reach, cost-efficient method for making health care more accessible, affordable and effective across the developing world. Now patients can use mobile phones to make calls related to health education, appointments, treatment adherence. They can also contact health workers or transport to health services, and healthcare workers may receive diagnostic support, consult with colleagues, communicate with patients, enhance their skills and gather and analyze data using mobile devices.