Private Sector Health

mHealth

Mobile phone companies have more than 6.8 billion subscribers, according to the Telecommunication Development Sector. The majority are in developing countries where mobile networks often are the primary communications infrastructure. Mobile phones provide unprecedented opportunities to reach end users with health information and tools, support health care providers with education and supervision, and facilitate monitoring and management of health programs.
 
Abt Associates’ mobile applications for health or mHealth offer cost-effective solutions that can address resource gaps and strengthen communications among all stakeholders in a health system. Abt’s mHealth activities include:
 
  • Data collection and management;
  • Provider training and supervision;
  • Consumer education and patient support;
  • Supply chain logistics;
  • Mobile money applications;
  • Platform development;
  • Rigorous impact evaluations;
  • Sustainable business models; and
  • Facilitation of public-private partnerships.
     
Our mHealth solutions promote integration of and engagement between the public and private health sectors by:
 
  • Attracting corporate resources from technology and consumer product companies;
  • Strengthening two-way information flows for better decision-making; and
  • Providing cohesive communications among isolated or disconnected providers.
     
To improve timely response to tuberculosis (TB) diagnoses in Nigeria, Abt developed a system called GxAlert that utilizes mobile channels to support real-time reporting of results from TB diagnostic machines. GxAlert automatically sends a message to a national database when a new drug resistant TB case is detected, enabling better surveillance and a faster response to getting patients on treatment. Following a successful pilot in early 2013, the Nigeria Ministry of Health is now scaling up the platform nationally. The solution is adaptable to any diagnostic device for any disease, making it scalable to other health information platforms.
 

In Uganda, the USAID-funded Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) project completed a pilot program to develop and test a mobile-based approach to performance improvement that manages and automates the delivery and receipt of text messages and reporting. The goal was to reinforce face-to-face clinical training and improve the effectiveness of supportive supervision and follow-up. A process evaluation found promising trends in self-reported behavior changes in infection prevention and pain management protocols, and high acceptance of mobile channels for training reminders. The free software application is available for download at FrontlineSMS:Learn

Blog Post: The Missed Opportunities between mHealth and mAgriculture
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Data Collection + Real Time Analysis and Feedback
With USAID funding, Abt worked with the Malawian Ministry of Health to implement a multi-status supervisory tool that improved data flow.
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