Mobile technology for community care

The Mobenzi Outreach platform is the result of several years spent building software to support and manage community-based health projects.

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mHealth

Through the delivery of systems for organisations including the Medical Research Council, UCLA, Human Sciences Research Council, Stellenbosch University, the University of Washington, South African Department of Health and others, a common set of requirements has been defined which forms the basis of the Outreach platform.

Mobenzi Outreach forms a layer of additional functionality on top of the Mobenzi Researcher field research and mobile data collection platform. It provides a toolset which underpins the rapid and flexible configuration of customised project protocols to empower the activities of Community Health Workers (CHWs) and other stakeholders involved in community care initiatives.

The core requirements on which many community care initiatives depend typically include:
 

  • A central patient record, which CHWs must be able to access and update from the field.
  • Tracking of on-going patient interactions and the ability to schedule visits which correspond to patient milestones which have implicit uncertainty.
  • Routine data collection for reporting, strategic decision-making and project monitoring & evaluation.
  • CHW workload and efficacy monitoring.
  • Patient adherence and treatment support.
  • CHW visit support, where guidance on what activities, education and interventions are required for each visit is based on the patient's needs.
  • Mechanisms to support referral from field to facility and vice versa.
  • Algorithms and protocols for decision support, as well as access to reference material.
mHealth

In response to these requirements, Mobenzi Outreach lays the foundation for mobile-based community care which facilitates, amongst other capabilities:

  • Mobile enrolment of any kind of patient profile into a central database.
  • Definition of flexible and custom data structures for storing patient records.
  • Scheduling of patient visits, preloaded with personalised protocols and instructions based on the patient's needs and profile.
  • Seamless integration of data collection and research activities into CHW visits.
  • Design of decision support tools enabling CHWs to identify and treat conditions.
  • Remote consultations and referral of cases to specialists electronically.
  • Integrated text messaging (SMS) for contextual patient interaction (e.g. during pregnancy), adherence, appointment reminders and more.
  • Coordination of CHW activities, recording tasks, monitoring workload and data verification.
  • Support for over 500 handset models across four platforms, including most low-cost feature phones.
  • Automated generation and distribution of reports, rosters and exceptions.
  • Configurable web interfaces for supervision, reporting, data entry and facility-level integration.