Connecting patient care to global health trends by health app analytics

December 21, 2015

The spectrum of mobile health applications, or ‘apps’, follows the supply chain of health services from storage of and access to knowledge, training and reference tools, diagnostic and treatment supply chain management, clinical care and direct patient services. Their potential for improving health services for the world's poor now seems obvious, as mobile phones rest in the hands of the majority of people in the developing world. In this issue of Public Health Action, Wright et al. report on the international use of a recent mobile health (mHealth) app developed by Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF) to support their own and other care providers with clinical care guidelines in remote and resource-limited settings.1 The MSF Guidance app improved field accessibility of their guidelines over paper versions, which often suffered from limited supply and lack of accessibility in the field. The MSF guidelines are now freely available to anyone with an Android or iOS phone and (even intermittent) data connections. The app has the additional benefit of tracking the health subject matter accessed, and therefore has the potential to be used to track geographical outbreaks of certain conditions.


Richard T. Lester