A major part of the new media and tech revolution that is sweeping the globe today is the emergence of the ubiquitous mobile tools we used to call “cell phones,” tools which not only have the ability to change politics, but also governing, education, health outcomes, and much more.
The New Policy Institute recently joined the U.N. Foundation and the Vodafone Foundation to co-host a reception for the Washington, D.C., release of their report, “mHealth for Development: the Opportunity of Mobile Technology for Healthcare in the Developing World.” This breakthrough report examines mHealth in the developing world and provides more than 50 case studies demonstrating that mobile phones can provide increased access to healthcare and health-related information in remote places, improve ability to diagnose and track diseases, and provide timelier and more actionable public health information.
From the report’s introduction:
Mounting interest in the field of mHealth—the provision of health-related services via mobile communications— can be traced to the evolution of several interrelated trends. In many parts of the world, epidemics and a shortage of healthcare workers continue to present grave challenges for governments and health providers. Yet in these same places, the explosive growth of mobile communications over the past decade offers a new hope for the promotion of quality healthcare. Among those who had previously been left behind by the ‘digital divide,’ billions now have access to reliable technology.
There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates the potential of mobile communications to radically improve healthcare services—even in some of the most remote and resource-poor environments. This report examines issues at the heart of the rapidly evolving intersection of mobile phones and healthcare. It helps the reader to understand mHealth’s scope and implementation across developing regions, the health needs to which mHealth can be applied, and the mHealth applications that promise the greatest impact on heath care initiatives. It also examines building blocks required to make mHealth more widely available through sustainable implementations. Finally, it calls for concerted action to help realize mHealth’s full potential.
To read all of this pioneering report, click here. Also, be sure to check out Alec Ross, Senior Advisor on Innovation to the U.S. State Department, talking about mHealth at the reception: