mHealth Research Daily, with Tim Bredrup

With the growth of mobile health in recent years, learning through the use of mobile devices (mobile learning [mLearning]) has gained recognition as a potential method for increasing healthcare providers’ access to medical information and resources in resource-limited settings.

To further explore the role of smart phone based mLearning, seven residents at the University of Botswana School of Medicine were trained to use an Android-based myTouch 3G smart phone equipped with data-enabled SIM cards and a built-in camera. Phones contained locally loaded point-of-care and drug information applications, a telemedicine application that allows for the submission of cases to local mentors, and e-mail/Web access. Surveys were administered at 4 weeks and 8 weeks following the distribution of phones.

It was determined that smart phones loaded with point-of-care tools were effectively utilized by resident physicians in resource-limited settings, both for accessing point-of-care medical information at the bedside and engaging in self-directed learning at home.

In other mLearning related studies, twenty physicians in 2009 used individual smart phones equipped with portable solar chargers to work in urban and peri-urban HIV/AIDS clinics in Peru. It was concluded that training, supervision and clinical mentoring of health workers are the cornerstone of the scaling up process of HIV/AIDS care in resource-limited settings.

Authors: Chang AY, Ghose S, Littman-Quinn R, Anolik RB, Kyer A, Mazhani L, Seymour AK, Kovarik CL

Institution: Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Original Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22171597