Use of mHealth strategies by frontline health workers in low-resource settings

Added April 19, 2020

Citation: Agarwal S, Perry H, Long L, Labrique A. Evidence on feasibility and effective use of mHealth strategies by frontline health workers in developing countries: systematic review. Tropical Medicine and Internal Health 2015; 20(8): 1003-14

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a great strain on healthcare services. Existing research on mobile health (mHealth) strategies may provide evidence to ease this, especially in low-resource settings.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for research from developing countries evaluating the feasibility of the use of mobile phones by frontline healthcare workers, the training required for adoption of mobile tools, and the effects of mobile-based services. They restricted their search to studies published in English between 2000 and 2013 and did the search in December 2013. They included 42 studies.

What works: Use of mobile phone based data collection by frontline healthcare workers improves promptness of data collection, reduces error rates and improves data completeness.

Regular access to health information via SMS or mobile‐based decision‐support systems may improve the adherence of frontline healthcare workers to treatment regimens.

What doesn’t work: Nothing noted.

What’s uncertain: The effects of using mHealth tools for patient-specific alerts and reminders, supervision by higher-level care providers and emergency referrals are uncertain.

The effects on health outcomes, health system efficiencies and cost-effectiveness of service delivery of frontline healthcare workers using mHealth strategies are uncertain.


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