Using Community Health Workers and a Smartphone Application to Improve Diabetes Control in Rural Guatemala

10 November, 2020

A new paper in the journal Global Health: Science and Practice, and a comment from me below.

CITATION: Global Health: Science and Practice

Using Community Health Workers and a Smartphone Application to Improve Diabetes Control in Rural Guatemala

Sean Duffy et al.

'A smartphone application providing algorithmic clinical decision support enabled community health workers to improve diabetes control for a group of patients in rural Guatemala. This approach enables task sharing with physicians and other advanced practitioners for chronic disease care, which is particularly important in low-resource settings.'

'The mobile application included protocols for assessing glycemic control, titration of oral hypoglycemics, identification and management of diabetes complications, and patient counseling...

'The application provided reliable recommendations, with CHWs and the reviewing physician agreeing with the application-recommended medication dosing greater than 90% of the time.'


Comment (NPW): Community health workers are responsible for preventing and managing a huge variety of conditions. Disease-specific apps are helpful, but ideally CHWs should not have to rely on a multitude of disease-specific apps, but would deliver care using just one or two 'umbrella' apps. The concordance between the diabetes app and reviewing physician suggests alignment of algorithms. This in turn reminds me of the value of another resource that has been discussed on HIFA: Practical Approach to Care Kit. I'm not sure if an app has been developed to support the latter?

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, WHO-HIFA Collaboration: Empowering Community Health Workers (CHWs) to accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage

HIFA Project on Community Health Workers

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (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. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: