HIFA is contributing to a major research project: mHEALTH-INNOVATE: exploring how healthcare workers' informal and innovative uses of mobile phones are shaping service delivery and governance in LMICs. HIFA is engaged as a subcontractor to provide a channel for multi-stakeholder involvement and discussion around the issues raised, thanks to our wide reach (>20,000 members in 180 countries) and the diversity of our members (health professionals, civil society, policymakers, library and information professionals, publishers...).
Background: Previous work on mHealth has focused largely on formal 'top-down' approaches, but it is increasingly recognised that health workers use mobile phones in informal and innovative ways to support their work. We're interested in all types of health workers, including lay or community health workers and supervisors, at all levels of health care. How do health workers use their mobile phones and informal channels of communication to get clinical information or advice, seek practical advice or support (e.g. access to patient transport), communicate with supervisors or other parts of their organisation, communicate with patients and their families, seek emotional support from their peers?
The 4-year project will start with a thematic discussion on HIFA and a systematic review, which will then inform primary research in Uganda followed by governance analysis and deliberative dialogue.
How you can participate!
From 11th April to 6th May 2022 HIFA is hosting a 4-week in-depth discussion on the HIFA forum, in collaboration with Makerere University, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, WHO and other research partners. This discussion is vital as a first step as the research consortium rolls out a 4-year programme that includes a systematic review and primary research.
1. Do you use a mobile phone to help you in your work? How do you use it?
2. How do you use your phone to communicate with colleagues, patients and families?
3. How do you use your phone for other work-related purposes? (eg searching for healthcare information and guidance, tracking supplies, referring patients...)
4. Can you give any examples of *informal* use of mobile phones by health workers? (ie uses of mobile phones that have not been directed by the employer, but have been initiated, adapted or developed by health workers themselves)
5. How can the informal use of mobile phones be improved to strengthen healthcare?
Who can join the discussion?
- We invite anyone with an interest in health to join these discussions. This includes health professionals, community health workers, members of civil society, policy makers, and people working in the field of digital health.
- We want to hear your thoughts and experiences. You do not have to be an expert in digital health.
How the discussion will work
- HIFA members receive a daily compilation of messages from the previous 24 hours, sent by email to their personal inbox.
- HIFA members can contribute to the discussions by sending an email to: email@example.com
- All contributions are assessed and approved for distribution to HIFA's 12,000+ members worldwide
- Your contributions will make a vital contribution to a major 4-year research project
How to join the discussion
- If you are already a HIFA member, then you do not need to take action. The mHEALTH-INNOVATE will take place in parallel with other HIFA discussions, and you will see the prefix "mHEALTH-INNOVATE" in the subject line of relevant messages.
- If you are not already a HIFA member, you can join here (free).
Contact: Neil Pakenham-Walsh, Global Coordinator, HIFA: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: Mark Leong, WHO HRP