Posted on July 22, 2015

NEW RESOURCE: Leveraging Community Health Workers through mHealth Technologies

A new resource that provides in-depth references, tools and guides for organizations to leverage their community health workers (CHWs) through mobile health technology

The UCLA Institute for Innovation in Health and NEHI, through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, have recently launched a new resource that provides in-depth references, tools and guides for organizations to leverage their community health workers (CHWs) through mobile health technology. 

mhealth

The resource, entitled “Deep Dive: Leveraging Community Health Workers through mHealth Technologies,” documents the synergies between CHWs and mHealth and how these two, when brought together, can help improve community health and health care.

These innovations are addressing several aspects:

  • Education and awareness of public health issues: Health education and awareness building is a key strength of the CHW global workforce. New technologies are helping CHWs more effectively teach healthy behaviors and become recognized leaders in their community.
  • Training and retention of frontline health workers: mHealth technologies are reducing face-to-face training time of CHWs, and thus enabling the quicker, cheaper and more impactful deployment of CHWs. mHealth technologies also allow for ongoing training in the field and can identify gaps in understanding and opportunities for continued education.
  • Data collection, screening, disease monitoring: Mobile technologies are enabling data collection for both internal or external purposes and helping agencies spend less time on paper forms and more quickly respond to problems in real-time. 

12 Innovations Identified

  • Ananya, an Indian program funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, uses two different tools in mHealth Technology: Mobile Academy, a training course delivered by mobile phone to CHWs, and, “Mobile Kunji,” an application consisting of audio recordings and corresponding visual aids that help CHWs educate women on birth preparedness, in addition to feeding, nutrition and family planning.
  • Partners in Health (PIH) recently deployed a common email platform, Office360, for the first time in its organizational history that has allowed for improved readiness and communication following the Ebola crisis.
  • Amref Health Africa’s Health Enablement and Learning Platform (HELP) in Kenya features SMS texting and an audio module to help supplement face-to-face training.
  • Malaria Consortium’s Innovation at Scale for Community Access and Lasting Effects (inSCALE) includes motivational SMS text messages and  support tools to help guide CHWs’ evaluation of symptoms and decisions for treatment.
  • MHP Salud’s mobile application allows CHWs to collect information digitally on demographics and other important factors of their patients, resulting in reduced down time spent on data collection.
  • Healthify is a mobile technology that helps health plans and providers collect data on the social and behavioral needs of their patients, screen for risk-levels of deteriorating health status and connect and match patients to resources in the community.
  • Muso Ladamunen, a local NGO in Mali, uses a mobile app called MAMMA that helps CHWs quickly collect data on important health indicators and allows for better surveillance of malaria that has stricken many parts of the community. 


  • Care Coordination Systems is a software helping CHWs manage their case-load and prioritize patients based on their risk factors. Data is collected and stored on the “Pathways HUB.” The platform is based off of a pathway model, in which step by step guides or checklists are provided to the CHW to help them work toward a specific outcome. 


  • The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, an organization using TrackVia to help monitor and visualize patient care plans and outcome measures, as well as Care Evolution, a mobile electronic health record (EHR), to allow for better identification of patients’ needs along with a more timely connection to health care services. 

  • BluePrint Healthcare IT’s Care Navigator helps assess and monitor needs of patients through data collection on social determinants of health, and is one example of an mHealth technology already integrating with electronic health records.

  • ClickMedix is a mobile health and education company employed in over 14 countries including the U.S. that is scaling care in remote rural areas by allowing CHWs to collect clinical information, including photos and videos of the patient, and report back to the clinician.

  • Elder Services of Merrimack Valley’s use of Care at Hand uses technology that allows transition coaches with tablets to collect information and stratify patients on level of risk for readmissions.

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