Africa’s next mHealth phase may have a wider structure
While Africa’s mHealth initiatives scored highly in the 2015 WHO eHealth survey, a constant challenge for all countries is fitting them into the wider eHealth setting. A whitepaper by Athena Health, Going Mobile: Integrating Mobile to Enhance Patient Care and Practice Efficiency identifies how mHealth is used and how its strategic setting can be developed. mHealth Intelligence says healthcare leaders need a “thoughtful approach to integrate mobile health technology.”
The whitepaper says it includes:
- Clinical decision support (CDS) by evaluating and selecting the best mHealth
- Workflow efficiencies, using mobile-enabled devices, services, and software to optimise data retrieval, documentation and healthcare transactions
- Communication and co-ordination by connecting and sharing information between providers to improve healthcare co-ordination
- Patient engagement to support population health, improve compliance, and engaging patients in their care
- Security and privacy and ensuring its effective for mHealth.
These present two challenges for healthcare organisations:
- Evaluating and selecting mHealth solutions that maximise support for clinical outcomes, co-ordinated healthcare, workflow efficiency, patient engagement, and population health
- Protecting the security and privacy of information shared using mHealth.
mHealth features that need assessing in these decisions include:
- Secure, and compliant with laws and regulations
- Focused on efficiency and measurable results
- Integrated with patient communication and EHRs
- Supporting CDS and better health outcomes
- Easy to use by clinicians and patients
- A strong platform for patient engagement
- Flexible, to accommodate mHealth innovations and changes.
These provide Africa’s health systems with an initial strategic structure to integrate and direct their current mHealth services and plans. A bigger challenge is evaluating a widening range of mHealth innovations and opportunities as a set of integrated business cases.