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A Systematic Review of Mobile Health Technology Use in Developing Countries.

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College of Public Health and Health Informatics, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs (MNGHA), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.


In developing countries, patients are now more informed about their healthcare options as a result of their use of mobile health (mHealth) technologies. The purpose of this paper is to describe the opportunities and challenges in using mHealth technologies for developing countries. In April 2015, Google Scholar and PubMed were searched to identify articles discussing the types, advantages and disadvantages, effectiveness, evaluation of mHealth technologies, and examples of mHealth implementation in developing countries. A total number of 3,803 articles were retrieved from both databases. Articles reporting the benefits and risks, effectiveness, and evaluation of mHealth were included. Articles that were written in English and from developing countries were also included. We excluded papers that were published before 2005, not written in English, and that were technical in nature. After screening the articles using the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 27 articles were selected for inclusion in the study. Of the 27 papers included in the review, eight described opportunities and challenges relating to mHealth, four focused on smoking cessation, three focused on weight loss, and four papers focused on chronic diseases. We also identified four articles discussing mHealth evaluation and four discussing the use of mHealth as a health promotion tool. We conclude that mHealth can improve healthcare delivery for developing countries. Some of the advantages of mHealth include: patient education, health promotion, disease self-management, decrease in healthcare costs, and remote monitoring of patients. However, there are several limitations in using mHealth technologies for developing countries, which include: interoperability, lack of evaluation standards, and lack of a technology infrastructure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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