Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is mHealth?
A. Mobile Health, or mHealth, can be defined as medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices, such as mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, tablets, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and other wireless devices. The ubiquity of mobile devices in both developed and developing countries presents an opportunity to improve health outcomes through the innovative delivery of health services and information.
Some uses of mHealth include:
- Education and Awareness - Messaging in support of public health and behavioral change campaigns
- Diagnostic and Treatment Support - Mobile phone as point-of-care device
- Disease and Epidemic Outbreak Tracking - Sending and receiving data on disease incidence, outbreaks and public health emergencies
- Supply Chain Management - Using mobile solution to improve stock-outs and combat counterfeiting
- Remote Data Collection - Collecting real-time patient data with mobile applications
- Remote Monitoring - Maintaining care giver appointments or ensuring medication regime adherence
- Healthcare Worker Communication and Training - Connecting health workers with sources of information
Q. What is the mHealth Alliance?
A. Working with diverse partners, the mHealth Alliance advances mHealth through research, advocacy, and support for the development of interoperable solutions and sustainable deployment models. The Alliance, which is hosted by the United Nations Foundation, sponsors events and conferences, leads cross-sector mHealth initiatives and workshops, and hosts Health Unbound (HUB), an online knowledge resource center and interactive network for the global mHealth community.
Q. What is the mHealth Alliance's goal?
A. The mHealth Alliance's goal is to mobilize the effective integration of mHealth into global health practices, programs, and policies by building the mobile health commons. Achieving this goal would mean the following:
- The health community is aware of mHealth and effectively uses mobile for health.
- mHealth uses commonly accepted health and technology standards; policies apply to and account for mHealth.
- Programming and funding of health initiatives and services include mobile components when appropriate.
- mHealth is scaled and sustainable, as common challenges have been addressed.
Q. How did the mHealth Alliance begin?
A. The idea for the mHealth Alliance emanated from a July 2008 conference in Bellagio, Italy, on the future of mHealth, during which participants committed to forming a non-profit mHealth Alliance to maximize the impact of mobile health, especially in emerging economies, by ensuring interoperability and open-standards based solutions.
Launched at the GSM Mobile World Congress in February 2009 by the Rockefeller Foundation, United Nations Foundation, and Vodafone Foundation, the mHealth Alliance now includes the GSM Association, HP, and Norad among its founding partners.
Q. How can I stay connected with mHealth Alliance?
A. There are many ways to engage with the mHealth Alliance. Individuals can sign up for mPulse, our monthly enewsletter. You can also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our group on LinkedIn, and get in the conversation on HUB.
mHealth Alliance membership is open to organizations, corporations, institutions, governments, and bi-lateral and multi-lateral agencies. Visit our membership page to learn more about the benefits of becoming a member of the mHealth Alliance.
Q. What health areas are key to the mHealth Alliance's work?
A. The mHealth Alliance's work is twofold:
- Strategic priorities, which are vital to removing barriers that hold the mHealth field from advancing into the mainstream. The Alliance is building working groups and Communities of Practice on HUB [link to www.HealthUnbound.org] to address these topics.
- Health Focus Areas, which show potential for maximizing the impact of mHealth solutions. The Alliance often works with partners to define these areas and incorporate mHealth solutions into each area.