Impact Pathways - mHealth

Situational Analysis - Context

Disease and the lack of adequate preventative care have a significant effect on developing populations and their economies.

Evidence shows that strict adherence to a medication regime is essential for effective treatment of a variety of health conditions, from AIDS to diabetes. In addition, monitoring patients at home for chronic conditions dramatically improves survival rates.

However, many patients in developing countries do not have access to local healthcare services.

Overview to mHealth and Monitoring

Within the field of Monitoring, example of applications include:

  • Treatment compliance : Treatment compliance refers to individuals taking their medication as instructed at the correct time each day in order to manage their illness. Commonly, this takes the form of patients being reminded with automated SMS or phone call reminders. Equally, treatment compliance devices, such as pill bottles with SIM cards, exist that send information back to the health care service provider informing them when medication is taken.
  • Appointment attendance : Another component of managing or treating an illness is attending medical appointments. mHealth applications have been developed which send automated reminders to patients informing them of forthcoming medical appointments. Such reminders can result in a material reduction in the number of visits missed and at arguably less cost than a personal phone call.
  • Vitals monitoring : Real-time vitals monitoring of patients (e.g. those with diabetes, heart conditions, etc.) to collect biomedical data and provide patients with support and recommendations if necessary.
  • Data collection : Monitoring progress of patients with conditions such as HIV/AIDS or diabetes using PDAs or mobile phones to collect data electronically.

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Enabling environment

Health financing and aid effectiveness (Sources : 8)

Per capita spending on health; commitments from donors; consumer appetite to pay for mHealth

Health workforce and service coverage (Sources : 12)

Health worker density; level of training; health service coverage

Physical infrastructure (Sources : 3)

# of health centres; quality of ICT in health facilities

Mobile infrastructure (Sources : 12)

Mobile penetration; # of mobile subscribers; cost of SIM cards

Essential medicines and technologies (Sources : 1)

Availability of medicines

Government (Sources : 6)

Government strategy and policy retaing to mHealth

Incentives (Sources : 1)

Incentives for health care workers to use mHealth deployment


Reminders for treatment adherence (Sources : 2)

# SMS reminders

Health surveys (Sources : 2)

# people trained to carry out surveys

Remote vitals monitoring (Sources : 1)

Mobile technology used to transmit data

Information on medication stock levels (Sources : 3)

# stock counts received via SMS

Medical outcomes

Development Outcomes


Clinical impact
Increased treatment compliance (Sources : 8)

Increase in % compliance

Time and money saved in using remote monitoring (Sources : 10)

# hours/$ saved using mHealth

Increased amount of patient information (Sources : 7)

Date collected remotely

Increased patient awareness (Sources : 1)

Patients reporting increased knowledge


Increased treatment accuracy & effectiveness (Sources : 5)

Improved condition of patients; reduction in no. of complications

Increased healthcare centre/patient efficiency (Sources : 11)

Increased productivity; improved quality control

Reduced cost of treatment (Sources : 3)

Reports of cost-effectiveness

Increased patient satisfaction (Sources : 4)

Patients reporting higher satisfaction, lower anxiety

Increased quality of care for patients (Sources : 6)

Increase in supervision, improved engagement from healthcare worker


Health (Sources : 5)

# potential lives saved, improved survival rates, improved clinical outcomes

Economic expansion (Sources : 1)

Revenue from mHealth deployments

Social capital accumulation (Sources : 1)

Patients feeling cared for, family well-being

Key for Impact Pathway

Indicator (Sources : # of data points)
  • Examples of measurement

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