Good Practices in Issuing Mobile Devices to Healthcare Workers

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Author(s): MEASURE Evaluation SIFSA

Year: 2015

Good Practices in Issuing Mobile Devices to Healthcare Workers Abstract:

Mobile health, or mHealth, is defined as the use of mobile computing, medical sensors, or other communication technology in the delivery of health-related services. mHealth has the potential to empower patients with information to inform their healthcare decisions and link them to health services. Providers and health managers can use mHealth to access data for decision making and for the improvement of health systems performance.

Despite this potential, some mHealth initiatives have struggled to deliver benefits, in part due to a lack of coordination and a duplication of effort between programs implementing mHealth initiatives. This is further exacerbated by the complications of distributing mobile devices to healthcare workers. If devices are assigned in an uncoordinated manner by multiple projects, then each project will face a similar set of challenges and health workers could potentially be given many different mobile devices, resulting in duplication of cost and effort.

The South African mHealth Strategy 2015–2019 provides some tangible ways to address these coordination and duplication challenges. It states that the Department of Health should “provide guidelines for mHealth projects providing tablets/smartphones to healthcare workers [which]… all face common problems around SIM recharge methods, broken/lost devices, training and security.”

This technical brief describes an approach focused on the One Device Principle for mobile health and shows how it can be used to promote greater coordination among projects. It will also detail the major issues that need to be addressed when distributing devices to healthcare workers.

Filed under: South Africa , MHealth , Mobile technology , Health Workers