mHealth report values smartphones in TB fight

The mHealth Alliance and Stop TB Partnership have joined together in a program to prevent tuberculosis and improve care for those with the illness by utilizing mobile devices and software.

A newly released report details a variety of projects that have shown the effectiveness of using text messages and automatic call-backs on patients' phones as means of communicating important notices that help sufferers adhere to medication regimens, according to FierceMobileHealthCare.com.

The report, entitled "The Role of mHealth in the Fight Against Tuberculosis," recommends that patients be provided with mobile credits or other rewards to act as incentives to encourage further adherence.

In addition, the report suggests the use of global positioning systems to help track where patients are being diagnosed and treated in order to simplify the process of surveillance and monitoring.

CellScope, which allows clinical field workers to take photographs of sputum smear slides with their phone cameras, was identified as a means to quicken diagnoses, FierceMobileHealthCare.com reports.

SMS-enabled smartphones are, according to the report, a useful means to disseminate valuable information about prevention, treatment and symptoms. They are becoming considered to be more valuable than current systems already in place.

"We...need to link TB projects and those being conducted in the wider mHealth community by involving TB implementers in working groups and networks, so that experience flows both ways," the researchers said, FierceMobileHealthCare.com reports.