HIFA: Using an online community of practice to explore the informal use of mobile phones by health workers

14 January, 2023

Dear HIFA colleagues,

I'm delighted to report that a paper based on our HIFA discussion in 2022 - exploring the informal use of mobile phones by health workers - has now been published in Oxford Open Digital Health. Citation, abstract and comment from me below.

CITATION: Using an online community of practice to explore the informal use of mobile phones by health workers

Claire Glenton, Josephine Nabukenya, Smisha Agarwal, Michele Meltzer, Elisabeth Mukendi, Immaculate Nakityo Lwanga, Josephine Namitala, Sunanda Reddy, Geoff Royston, Tigest Tamrat, Neil Pakenham-Walsh

Oxford Open Digital Health, oqac003, https://doi.org/10.1093/oodh/oqac003 [accepted manuscript; edited version to follow]

Published: 04 January 2023



Health workers are increasingly harnessing mobile phones to develop their own solutions to work challenges. The mHEALTH-INNOVATE project aims to explore this topic further. In 2022, Healthcare Information for All (HIFA) organised an online discussion among health workers and other stakeholders to inform the project. Twenty-five people joined the discussion. Contributors’ descriptions of the varieties of mobile phone use tallied with previous research, including for communication with patients and colleagues. In addition, they described increased mobile phone use in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the increased need for communication, monitoring and reporting, including during lockdowns. Some solutions were health worker-initiated, including the establishment of WhatsApp groups. The discussion has helped develop a definition of informal mobile phone use.

COMMENT: Thank you to all co-authors and HIFA forum contributors, and to our research partners and the Norwegian Research Council. We invite all HIFA memmebrs and others to join us for our webinar on 1st February: Using online communities of practice to complement health research: Experiences from Healthcare Information For All, where we shall explore the contribution of HIFA to two current research projects (mHEALTH-INNOVATE and SUPPORT-SYSTEMS):


More info: https://www.hifa.org/projects/new-mhealth-innovate-what-can-we-learn-hea...

Best wishes, Neil

Dr Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator

Healthcare Information For All

Global Healthcare Information Network

Working in Official Relations with the World Health Organization

20,000 members, 400 supporting organisations, 180 countries, 6 forums, 4 languages

www.hifa.org neil@hifa.org