Welcome to Global Mobile, a new blog about the power of mobiles. We’ve been writing about cell phones in politics long before Barack Obama told you he picked Joe Biden via text message. New Policy Institute President Simon Rosenberg and Alec Ross co-authored a paper in 2007 about the importance of the global communications network for our affiliate, NDN, suggesting that we better prepare our children for this new world. And last year, Tom Kalil, now Deputy Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, wrote a ground-breaking paper about the “Mobile Revolution.” So, this blog is building on a pretty deep track record dealing with this stuff.
For frequent updates about the ways that mobile technology is changing lives and improving societies around the world, check back often at the Global Mobile blog.
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:
The New Policy Institute is pleased to announce the release of a compelling new paper, Harnessing the Mobile Revolution, by Tom Kalil. In recent years, the use of mobile phones and other mobile communications in developing countries has skyrocketed, and Tom takes a look at the power of mobile technologies in addressing some of our most pressing challenges, such as reducing the huge inequities in life expectancy between rich and poor countries, fostering inclusive economic growth, and promoting vibrant democracies.
In his paper, Tom urges the next President to promote mobile technologies as a tool to improve global health care outcomes, combat global poverty and strengthen democratic institutions:
…the next Administration should launch a major new initiative to harness the confluence of new technologies and innovative business models as a key component of its global development agenda. This initiative would be designed to serve as a catalyst for policy reforms in developing countries, promote an increased capacity for innovation by developing country entrepreneurs to meet local needs, and stimulate additional investments by philanthropists, foundations and companies.
Such an initiative could reduce poverty, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve global health outcomes. It could also help restore some of the damage to America’s international reputation, boost America’s ‘soft power,’ and position American businesses and workers to benefit from the growth of emerging markets in Africa, Asia, and Latin America…
To read this exciting and innovative paper in its entirety, please click here.
Tom Kalil, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy discusses the power of mHealth at a Vodafone Foundation / UN Foundation / New Policy Institute reception unveiling a new report, "mHealth for Development.