233810 FrontlineSMS:Medic- Mobile Phones Save Lives

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 8:55 AM - 9:20 AM

Nadim Mahmud, MS , FrontlineSMS: Medic, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, Stanford School of Medicine, Danville, PA
The developing world lacks 4.4 million health workers. One common response to this shortage is to train community health workers (CHWs) to bridge gaps between central clinics and peripheral villages. CHWs may provide basic services, but when community members fall critically ill, a 40 mile walk is commonly the only means of alerting professionals. This disconnect means that treatment adherence rates suffer, clinicians are unaware of patient statuses, immobile patients cannot receive emergency care, remote health workers lack support, new illnesses are not identified, and drug stock-outs are common. FrontlineSMS:Medic's mission is to help health workers communicate, coordinate patient care, and provide diagnostics using low-cost mobile technology. In six months, our pilot in Malawi saved the clinical staff 1200 hours of follow-up time and over $3,000 in motorbike fuel. Over 100 patients started TB treatment after their symptoms were noticed by CHWs and reported by text-message. The SMS network brought the Home-Based Care unit to the homes of 130 patients who would not have otherwise received care, and texting saved 21 antiretroviral therapy (ART) monitors 900 hours of travel time, eliminating the need to hand-deliver paper reports. These results have since been published in the peer-reviewed Technology and Health Care Journal. Growing from our first pilot, we have established programs in over half of Malawi's districts, and now have projects in ten other countries. Our current use cases include patient tracking, symptom and drug adherence monitoring, referral strengthening, supply monitoring, emergency care coordination, health worker management, and community mobilization.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe ways in which FrontlineSMS:Medic and its applications that are being used for global health promotion. 2. Identify how SMS messaging can be used to engage community health workers in diverse countries. 3. Discuss how a small non-profit start up can leverage mHealth to make a huge difference in the world.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: co-founder and current Research Director of frontlineSMS
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
FrontlineSMS Medic Cofounder

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 4057.0: mHealth promotion