mHealth in the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases in India: Current Possibilities and the Way Forward LE06-LE10
Dr. Anindo Majumdar,
Senior Resident, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, JIPMER, Puducherry-605006, India.
Mobile health technology has been used effectively for healthcare delivery in many developing countries. India is currently facing an epidemic of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). With greater availability of cheaper phones in the market, the user base of mobile phones in India is increasing rapidly. The present review was thus conducted to explore the current possibilities and future scope of mobile health for NCD prevention and control in India. Literature search was conducted using MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library to collect information regarding mobile health interventions. Two authors extracted the data and included studies if at least the abstract was available. Information from key reports and government websites were also included. We examined information from domains such as need for mobile health in NCDs in India, and the advantages, scope and challenges of mobile health for healthcare delivery in India. Existing mobile health systems in India, current evidence of mobile health use in NCDs, and the recent mobile health related initiatives taken by Government of India were also assessed. Though we found some examples of current mobile phone usage in many health related programmes in India, data from mobile health research is scarce, particularly for NCDs. The current evidence base needs to be strengthened. There is also a need for identifying various opportunities in the recent initiatives taken by Government of India. It can be concluded that though mobile health has many advantages, there are numerous challenges which need to be addressed before scaling it up at the national level.