mHEALTH-INNOVATE (24) Q2: How do you use your phone to communicate with colleagues, patients and families?

16 April, 2022

Dear HIFA colleagues,

We are now entering the second week of our thematic discussion on HIFA, in collaboration with Makerere University (Uhganda), Norwegian research institutes, WHO and others. This major research project is to understand better how health workers (and managers) use mobile phones in their work. We are interested in all aspects of mobile phones, and especially 'informal' use (health workers using phones in ways that are not specifically directed by their employer). For more details about the project see:

In the first week we explored Question 1: 'Do you use a mobile phone to help you in your work? How do you use it?'

This week I invite you to consider Question 2: 'How do you use your phone to communicate with colleagues, patients and families?'

In which situations would you normally have one-to-one voice calls or use SMS?

Do you use messaging apps such as Whatsapp to communicate with colleagues? One-to-one, or in a group?

Do you use your phone to send and receive emails?

What are the primary reasons to communicate with colleagues? Seeking clinical guidance? Organising transport or tests? Emotional support?

And what are the reasons you would use your phone to communicate with patients and families? To arrange a visit? To pass on the results of a test?

Are there any instances where the patient or family might initiate the call? Might they be able to call direct if they have a clinical issue? Or might they be referred to your phone via a helpline?

We look forward to hear from you. Please share your experience by sending an email to

Your contributions will be important to help build a picture of how mobile phones are used and how they could be used more effectively to support quality health care.

Best wishes, Neil

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, Global Coordinator HIFA,

Global Healthcare Information Network: Working in official relations with WHO

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is global coordinator of the HIFA global health movement (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. HIFA brings stakeholders together to accelerate progress towards universal access to reliable healthcare information.

Twitter: @hifa_org