mHealth Systems

Ahead of next week’s mHealth workshop in Rwanda, I’ve been familiarizing myself with some of the key platforms and tools that will be represented there. These include a variety of frameworks, server-side tools and mobile applications commonly used to supply mHealth solutions in developing countries.

Ultimately, most countries implement a combination of these tools, and with that in mind the focus of the Rwandan workshop will be interoperability. How can these various pieces of the puzzle work together to fulfill the unique requirements of a particular country’s mHealth infrastructure?


RapidSMS

RapidSMS

RapidSMS is the underlying framework used to build a number of SMS-based application for data collection, logistics and communication. It is a browser-based application that resides on a server, communicating with basic phones via SMS. The software provides the built-in functionality to help third party developers create SMS-based applications. A variety of applications are currently available that have been built on RapidSMS.

Developed by: Open-source community, lead by UNICEF
Implemented in: 10+ countries
Type: Framework/codebase
Language: Python with Django
Video: RapidResponse Demo
Website: rapidsms.org

CommCare

CommCare

A suite of mobile apps and accompanying server-side tool to help manage community health workers, providing generic domain management, form data-collection functionality, and multimedia learning environments.

Developed by: Dimagi
Implemented in: 10+ countries
Type: Customizable Application
Language: Python with Django
Website: commcarehq.org

OpenMRS

OpenMRS

The Open Medical Record System (OpenMRS) is an open source, enterprise electronic medical record system platform. It is a common platform upon which medical informatics efforts in developing countries can be built with no programming knowledge.

Developed by: Regenstrief Institute and Partners In Health
Implemented in: 50+ countries
Type: Platform and reference app
Language: Java
Video: The OpenMRS Story
Website: openmrs.org

DHIS2

DHIS2

The DHIS 2 is a tool for collection, validation, analysis, and presentation of aggregate statistical data, tailored to integrated health information management activities. It is a generic tool rather than a pre-configured database application, with an open meta-data model and a flexible user interface that allows the user to design the contents of a specific information system without the need for programming.

Developed by: Health Information Systems Programme (HISP)
Implemented in: 10+ countries
Type: Modular web-based software
Language: Java
Website: dhis2.org

Vumi

Vumi

Vumi is a highly-scalable messaging engine for the delivery of SMS, Star Menu and instant chat messages. The open-source solution allows for mobile conversations to take place across multiple territories, simultaneously connecting audiences and applications to multiple networks in various countries.

Developed by: The Praekelt Foundation
Implemented in: 15+ countries
Type: Messaging engine
Language: Python
Website: vumi.org

Motech

MoTeCH

The Mobile Technology for Community Health (MoTeCH) platform is an open source software project currently incorporating two interrelated mobile health services: the first enables pregnant women and their families to receive SMS or voice messages that provide time-specific information about their pregnancy, and the second helps community health workers to record and track the care delivered to women and newborns in their area.

Developed by: Grameen Foundation
Type: SMS/Voice system, and Mobile App
Language: Java, and server-side
Video: Mobile Midwife Initiative
Website: grameenfoundation.org/motech

This post was written by John Ryan, the 2012 DesignMatters fellow from Art Center College of Design with UNICEF’s Tech Innovation Unit in New York.

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