Please identify recent innovations and emerging best practices in the use of mobile telephony to improve health service outcomes and data management in post-conflict settings. Particularly interested in learning about simple / low-tech opportunities or programs that have helped improve drug distribution, health human resource or health information systems, and which may possibly be applied in the Solomon Islands in future years.
There is significant potential for the use of mobile telephony to
improve health service outcomes and data management. Opportunities
include: serving as a less costly substitute for existing interventions;
providing interactive functions that multiply the power of existing
interventions; and serving entirely new functions. Countries recovering
from conflicts and reinstating key functions of state administration can
benefit from the utilisation of information and communications
technology (ICT), which allows for more quick and efficient service
delivery to citizens (Virhiä, 2010).
Significant areas in which mobile technology is being applied to health
services include the following:
- Information management, including patient tracking and record keeping.
Data standards and interoperable platforms are important to ease the
flow of information. The adoption of unique health identifiers
monitored by electronic devices can promote better coordination across
health systems and enable improved epidemiological profiles.
Developing a culture of data and information using designers to
develop creative systems is recommended.
- Drug distribution: using mobiles to reduce stock-outs of drug
supplies. SMS text messaging has proved to be useful for this, as
shown in the examples of mTrac in Uganda and the SMS for Life project
- Human resource management: connecting community-based health workers
to medical advice, guidelines and training.
Bolton, L. Mobile Telephony for Improved Health Service and Data Management. Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2012) 11 pp.