From the International Medical Informatics Association

mHealth in Support of Community Health Workers: InSTEDD Literature Review

Dennis Israelski, President and CEO of InSTEDD, presents the results of a comprehensive literature review on mHealth in support of community health workers (CHWs). The Mendelay collection of papers is available at and has a corpus of more than 2,400 papers.

With a worldwide penetration rate of over 85%, the mobile phone has become one of the most transformative tools in human history. Specifically for Global Health, the use of mobile communication and network technologies for delivery of health care (mHealth) holds great promise for the future. In low resource settings, community health workers (CHWs) provide a backbone for delivery of health care services. Often isolated and without significant formal education or training, themselves, CHWs can be seen as key connectors between their communities and the formal health care system. In the hands of CHWs, mHealth tools may facilitate effective task shifting; by expanding the pool of human resources, increasing the productivity of health systems, and lowering the cost of services.

The reported experience with m-Health suggest a wide range of opportunities exist to improve ease, speed, completeness and accuracy of the work of CHWs. The outcomes associated with these sort of new capabilities can be expected to result in ongoing improvements in performance on key national Health indicators. A systematic review of the literature cites examples in action and provides recommendations focused on the design and development of mHealth tools for use by CHWs to strengthen Global Health interventions.

Dr. Israelski is President and CEO of InSTEDD ( His current focus is on the use, design and development of (e-Health/m-Health) tools and services for scalable impact in Global Health and includes active projects related to the application of innovative technologies for bio-surveillance, point of care-low cost-multiplex diagnostics, Health System Strengthening and Implementation Science.

This item is taken from the Knowledge Management and Communication KMC – Knowledge Sharing listserv of PAHO/WHO, courtesy of Ana Lucia Ruggiero.

June 8, 2012 - Posted by | miscellany |

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