242768 Mobile Technology for Community Health (MoTeCH): A comprehensive health information system for community health officers

Monday, October 31, 2011

Allison Stone, MHS , Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Margaret Schmitt, BA , Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY
John Koku Awoonor-Williams, MD, MPH, MPP , Director of Regional Health Services, Upper East Region of Ghana, The Ghana Health Service, Bolgatanga, Upper East Region, Ghana
James F. Phillips, PhD , Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Francis Yeji, Msc , Research Unit, Navrongo Health Research Centre, Navrongo, Ghana
Bruce MacLeod, PhD , Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
The Mobile Technology for Community Health (MoTeCH) Initiative has developed cell phone technology that prompts community health officers (CHOs) to deliver appropriately-timed doorstep services to mothers and children. MoTeCH builds on Ghana's Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) Initiative, which moves nurses from clinics to communities and mobilizes social support for their work. While CHPS significantly reduced childhood mortality in its early years, quantitative analysis of CHO work routines shows that levels of community outreach are currently very low. Needs associated with pregnancy, delivery, and early infancy are neglected, in part because information available to CHOs is inadequate for supporting home-based services.

Situated in Ghana's Upper East Region, MoTeCH develops and tests the use of inexpensive cell phones for capturing and feeding back essential information required for comprehensive maternal and child health care. Research posits that greater information available to CHOs will improve health service delivery. MoTeCH generates alerts and reminders for CHOs concerning clients due for specific types of care, with the aim of motivating outreach services. MoTeCH software is open source and well-suited for adaptation to other programs and settings of community-based health services.

Project evaluation assesses the impact of MoTeCH on CHO performance, information quality, and supervisory support. Qualitative systems appraisal is used to understand changes in CHO routines in response to m-health supported services. This presentation will include a description of the MoTeCH system, qualitative findings of CHO response to mobile alerts and reminders, and an overview of the evaluation methods used to assess CHO performance.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe an mHealth system that covers the full range of health information requirements for community health officers in Ghana 2. Discuss the reactions of community health officers to mobile phone-based alerts and reminders 3. Explain the evaluation strategy of a project aimed at improving the productivity and effectiveness of community health workers

Keywords: Community-Based Health Care, Health Information Systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Project Manager of the MoTeCH Initiative, and I am based in the field in the Upper East Region of Ghana.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.