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ICT and mHealth
URC is a leader in the development of mobile and connected solutions to help health program managers, health personnel, and patients track and manage care, especially for integrated health services in high-need, low-resource settings. We design information and communication technology (ICT) solutions and mHealth tools to meet the needs of health staff in low-income and remote areas.
Our ICT and mHealth strategies range from health data collection and storage to interactive Web and mobile applications for health and social change. Our solutions improve provider and client decision-making and performance and facilitate communication in areas where infrastructure is less developed.
We have created an array of platforms that strengthen decentralized management of health programs and empower patients to take informed action to keep themselves healthy. Websites, social media platforms, tablets, and mobile apps put information at everyone’s fingertips and help community workers overcome barriers of distance, access, and stigma when providing health and other social services to remote and vulnerable populations.
ICT and mHealth at Work
In Bangladesh, TB CARE II uses a smartphone application, ConnecTB, to support outpatient care for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Health workers can call up individualized directly observed treatment (DOT) regimens for MDR-TB patients, record sessions, and flag follow-up actions, including side-effect management and contact tracing. Time and location stamps allow managers to supervise remotely. ConnecTB has had a key role in enhancing national capacity for MDR-TB treatment: Patients initiate treatment more quickly and return to their communities in a fraction of the time it takes with traditional strategies—opening up beds to treat newly diagnosed patients.
ICT and mHealth solutions need not be complex. In Uganda, the USAID ASSIST Project provided village health teams with mobile phones to improve their performance when providing self-management support for people living with HIV. This simple improvement to community-level healthcare processes strengthened communication, supervision, and feedback between village health teams and their offsite supervisors. The workers now have quick access to information and can better serve their patients.