Everyone is not optimistic about the impact of mhealth in developing countries. I think preliminary research to understand the target population is very important to begin a project. There is a lack of standardization and policies in mhealth resulted in failure of the projects. Interventions should be designed so that they can be merged into existing network rather than introducing new ways for people to use devices. I am listing down some of the preliminary lessons shared by the speakers in mhealth Summit 2011 which they have learnt while implementing their maternal and newborn health projects and these lessons should be considered by anyone attempting to implement mhealth project in low resource domain.

  • 80% of the households have mobile phones access, it doesn’t mean that 80% of women have mobile phones access.
  • Long set of questions in mobile phone can lead to incomplete data sets
  • Feedback system is not very active to react back to user to encounter issues on the spot.
  • Forms in the mobile phones are so complicated that health workers don’t feel comfortable in filling them.
  • Focus towards tablets and smart phones applications ignoring the fact that people may have basic mobile phones but not necessarily have seen a smart phone in their lives.
  • Old people may have eye sight problem in reading data on mobile phones.
  • Data entry can be more difficult for the users depending on the type of phones used.
  • Voice messages may be preferable to text messages.
  • Mobile phone literacy is also very important to implement mobile health which is very low among rural areas.
  • Cell phones often get stolen or damaged. There should be some policies to encounter such issues.
  • Electricity, connectivity, and network congestion issues in remote areas.
  • Paid services gain more attention of the user than free services.
  • Patients do not trust electronic systems for data privacy.
  • Integration of mhealth system to the larger health system.

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