Despite technology’s promise and anecdotal evidence pointing to its potential, mHealth has not seen many rigorous evaluations that have measured its ability to affect clinical outcomes. Process outcomes are clear: mHealth can save time and money, increase the number of reported health events, increase the number of patients enrolled and so forth. But can mHealth help save lives, too by reducing mortality and morbidity rates and cumulative disease incidence? The team over at FrontlineSMS is undertaking an investigation to collect hard data on these and similar statistics over the next few years. Josh Nesbit Nadim Mahmud from the FrontlineSMS team writes over at DeshMedic:
“I am certainly playing devil’s advocate to some degree, but the point is simply this: process measures lead us to believe that mHealth interventions should be improving population health outcomes, but until we measure them directly we don’t actually know. It is vitally important to understand how a program with an accepted structure will predictably affect health outcomes. Furthermore, if initiatives hope to scale, their efficacy must be proved beyond a shadow of a doubt. Governments, partner organizations, donors, the medical community- these are just a sampling of the people that need to be convinced.”
Mahmud’s stated focus, like FrontlineSMS’s, is on communities with developing markets, but the same evidence-support is needed to deploy wireless medicine solutions in the U.S. and other developed markets as well.
Mahmud goes on to reveal that the company has been in talks with a number of major healthcare delivery and surveillance organizations in Bangladesh in order to find a partner for their investigation. Read Mahmud’s entire blog entry over at DeshMedic.
UPDATE: Josh Nesbit wrote in to clarify that FrontlineSMS:Medic’s Nadim Mahmud wrote the post, not Nesbit.