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Int J Telemed Appl. 2012;2012:973237. doi: 10.1155/2012/973237. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

Standardized functions for smartphone applications: examples from maternal and child health.

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Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behaviour, University of California, Los Angeles, 10920 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 350, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA.


Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are unlikely to be met in most low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Smartphones and smartphone proxy systems using simpler phones, equipped with the capabilities to identify location/time and link to the web, are increasingly available and likely to provide an excellent platform to support healthcare self-management, delivery, quality, and supervision. Smart phones allow information to be delivered by voice, texts, pictures, and videos as well as be triggered by location and date. Prompts and reminders, as well as real-time monitoring, can improve quality of health care. We propose a three-tier model for designing platforms for both professional and paraprofessional health providers and families: (1) foundational functions (informing, training, monitoring, shaping, supporting, and linking to care); (2) content-specific targets (e.g., for MDG; developmentally related tasks); (3) local cultural adaptations (e.g., language). We utilize the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) MDG in order to demonstrate how the existing literature can be organized and leveraged on open-source platforms and provide examples using our own experience in Africa over the last 8 years.

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