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Assessing the impact of mHealth interventions in low- and middle-income countries - what has been shown to work?

Hall, CS; Fottrell, E; Wilkinson, S; Byass, P; (2014) Assessing the impact of mHealth interventions in low- and middle-income countries - what has been shown to work? Global Health Action , 7 (1) pp. 1-12. 10.3402/gha.v7.25606. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Low-cost mobile devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, and personal digital assistants, which can access voice and data services, have revolutionised access to information and communication technology worldwide. These devices have a major impact on many aspects of people's lives, from business and education to health. This paper reviews the current evidence on the specific impacts of mobile technologies on tangible health outcomes (mHealth) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), from the perspectives of various stakeholders. DESIGN: Comprehensive literature searches were undertaken using key medical subject heading search terms on PubMed, Google Scholar, and grey literature sources. Analysis of 676 publications retrieved from the search was undertaken based on key inclusion criteria, resulting in a set of 76 papers for detailed review. The impacts of mHealth interventions reported in these papers were categorised into common mHealth applications. RESULTS: There is a growing evidence base for the efficacy of mHealth interventions in LMICs, particularly in improving treatment adherence, appointment compliance, data gathering, and developing support networks for health workers. However, the quantity and quality of the evidence is still limited in many respects. CONCLUSIONS: Over all application areas, there remains a need to take small pilot studies to full scale, enabling more rigorous experimental and quasi-experimental studies to be undertaken in order to strengthen the evidence base.

Type: Article
Title: Assessing the impact of mHealth interventions in low- and middle-income countries - what has been shown to work?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3402/gha.v7.25606
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/gha.v7.25606
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2014 Charles S. Hall et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.
Keywords: Mhealth, Biomedicine, Public, Environmental & Occupational Health, Mhealth, Low- and Middle-income Countries, Health Systems, Interventions, Mobile Data, Resource-limited Settings, Randomized Controlled-trial, Mobile Phones, Health-workers, Data-collection, Rural Uganda, Care, Communication, Guidelines, Attendance
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1455935
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