Scaling is a central concern in public health. More so, it is an underlying assumption because it is largely concerned with the health of the entire populace. The motivation to scale health services and its associated components including health information networks is underpinned by everything ‘public’ about public health. It is a basis for WHO’s mission and was well captured in its landmark ‘Health for All’ conference in Alma Ata 40 years ago (WHO, 1978). It is also the basis for spreading evidence-based and scientifically proven small-scale interventions to the populace (Black 1986, Taylor 2010). Scaling up global health initiatives and packages, rolling them to the lowest levels is thus a core strategy in reaching for the Millenium Development Goals targets by 2015 (United Nations, 2010).
Despite considerable increases in funds directed at scaling health services in low-resource settings and their associated information systems (Ravishankar et al 2009), reaching the lowest levels of care and the populace in targeting the MDGs have been largely unsuccessful (United Nations, 2010).
In this regard, mHealth, the application of mobiles for health is promising. Mobile technology is transforming healthcare by increasing access to healthcare and health-related information including hard-to-reach populations, improving the ability to track diseases, providing timlier and more actionable public health information and expanding access to health education as well as training (VitalWave, 2009). From a mass media perspective, it is also regarded as the fastest scaling media technology in history compared with how long it took print, recordings, cinema, radio, television and internet to scale (Ahonen, 2008).
In this research, the role of mHealth in scaling health information networks is investigated. Is mHealth the magic bullet it is envisioned to be? Are they any constraints – technical, strategic, organizational? What are the key lessons for architectural and implementation design?
Research aims and objectives coming…