UK Research and Innovation | Survey

Good idea
1st Submission Gold Trophy

SMS for Prevention

Innovation does not always have to be avant garde. Sometimes it involves borrowing pre-existing systems and resources.

On average a mobile phone user in Kenya receives about  3 promotional texts in a week. This number varies depending on the region and individual subscriptions.

In healthcare SMSs are mostly used for appointment management solutions and promotional purposes by healthcare providers.

The idea is to weaponize this media and actively use it towards disease prevention

How could digital technologies provide a solution to this challenge?

We could leverage this and create 'disease prevention texts' that address the prevention aspects of Primary Healthcare. They would act as reminders on a time to time basis. They would come in handy in guidance for people suffering from non communicable diseases such as diabetes. They would also be proactive in times of epidemics such as cholera outbreaks or Ebola. In these instances they would offer preventive solutions in real time basis.

BHUVANA K.B 2 months ago

Yes true.

Apart from appointment reminders and medication reminders, we can deliver SMS on risk factors for diseases (cardiovascular, cerebrovascular etc). Proper metrics to evaluate the behavioral change among those who are at risk of disease.

Simple messages on lifestyle management, sleep hygiene, mental hygiene, diet management, tobacco smoking, alcohol etc could help. Primary as well as secondary prevention measures.

Our team conduct mainly cardiovascular studies, off late focusing on other non communicable disease as well.

We have intervened patients providing manuals, patient education materials on the various aspects mentioned above.

As well as testing mHealth application, to improve self care among patients with heart failure.

Reply 1

DOUGLAS ORAMIS 2 months ago

This is great to hear Bhuvana. May I ask what is the geographical coverage? Is it a certain area or multiple? Do you get feedback from the data you collect?

Reply 0

BHUVANA K.B 2 months ago

Douglas, that was the suggestion of converting handout materials as SMS messages on various topics mentioned, delivered with definite intervals on case by case basis. They can be given an option to subscribe to particular topic.

mHealth application, we have developed an app. Non physician health worker (NPHWs) will be trained with disease management. NPHWs would send as SMS to patients/caregivers contact number, and once they click on the link and download the app, they should register with the help of user name and password which we provide, later they can change the password. Then they can use the app. NPHWs will be following up with patients and caregivers. NPHWs will monitor the values, questions. In case it needs to be discussed with Doctors, they discuss and get back to patients. So this is called task shifting/sharing approach utilizing technology.

Reply 0

View all replies (2)

Charles Clerck 2 months ago

A potential issue with this is to ensure that the SMS they receive is a true SMS alert and not a fake one, we all receive so many spam messages made to look like they are genuine? The fake SMS could take the receiver to a potentially dangerous situation?

Reply 0

BHUVANA K.B 2 months ago

That's true Charles. One strategy for this barrier is to utilize media for this. Institution/academia sending SMS as bulk. Regarding the fake or true SMS, patients should be able to recognize this.

Reply 0

BHUVANA K.B 2 months ago

I have narrated in my idea on how hospital settings can improve their service delivery utilizing skilled workforce and technology. That's raw ideas, on which we can build I guess.

Similar idea can be utilized in community settings through community health workers as well.

Reply 0

DOUGLAS ORAMIS 2 months ago

Locally there is a way of identifying which are spam through Genuine Labelling and Message content. Spam mostly come in as Numbers rather than Words. So something like Cholera Alert is differentiated from let us say 24245 etc.

Reply 0

View all replies (3)

Charles Clerck 2 months ago

Status label added: Good idea

Reply 0

BHUVANA K.B 2 months ago

Douglas, Please look into the SMART Health programme. Study conducted in rural India with skilled workforce (community health workers, ASHA), in identifying, reporting, managing risk factors and disease conditions. Here is the link.

https://www.georgeinstitute.org.in/media-rele...nditions-in-the

Reply 1

DOUGLAS ORAMIS 2 months ago

I will look into it. I am aware that a lot of efforts are being conducted in India to increase health awareness and foster innovation in healthcare. I have always assumed it is because of the numbers and some areas being highly remote. Keep it up. We expect some great innovative models to come from India.

Reply 1

Osu 2 months ago

Who will be responsible for the cost of the service?

Reply 0

BHUVANA K.B 2 months ago

If its integrated with the already existing government programme, then costs would be covered by GOVERNMENT? So, its ultimately for scaling up and sustainability, better to integrate with already existing programme. In India we have NPCDCS national programme for chronic disease control where they have district NCD (NON COMMUNICABLE DISEASE ) centers and state NCD centers. As of now, it is implemented in around 8 centers if I am not wrong.

Reply 0

DOUGLAS ORAMIS 2 months ago

Mobile Service Providers can include it as part of their CSR activities. Some of which have government ownership thereby reducing bureaucracy and partnership complications.

Individual and private firms can pick up the tab too, though they will find it hard and expensive due to the cost implications and lack of straight forward business model.

Reply 0

Osu 2 months ago

What of places where the government is not proactive? In Nigeria some of the services to be given by the government are done by the private sector. And private sectors can drive up cost.

Reply 0

DOUGLAS ORAMIS 2 months ago

In such instances the Private sector can leverage this and ask for incentives such as waiver of fees among other cost reduction measures.
And you have to remember that this it a digital service. The reach is limited by the extent of infrastructure such as Cell Towers and Mobile phone penetration.
These notwithstanding I think it is feasible provided their is a good understanding of the various roles of stakeholders

Reply 0

Osu 2 months ago

Yeah anything to make the private sector provide services with ease will definitely work, the government will need to give the necessary support. But what happens if there is no incentives?

Reply 0

BHUVANA K.B 2 months ago

Now all big companies are investing in health care, medical devices, setting up units within the company. They are collaborating with academic institutions for these as partners.

Initially private sector need to establish evidence on this by investing.

Later by policy dialogues between private, public and government, we can achieve getting incentives?

Reply 0

Osu 2 months ago

Hmmm..can we say all companies? Are you speaking from India perspective? Because here, first the companies are not interested in collaboration that won't yield immediate return on investment

Reply 0

DOUGLAS ORAMIS 2 months ago

The reason companies in the developing world are hesitant it is because of the complexities associated with healthcare. They are aware of the corruption, institutional voids and bureaucratic nightmares that come as package. Those in the developed world have realized the potential for innovation in the much maligned healthcare. Therefore the interest is skewed. On the contrary the developed world have systems that work and enforce protocols making it a bit more inelastic when it comes to creative maneuvering. The rules in the developing world are a bit lax which makes it a good thing when it comes to failing faster during the iteration stage of design thinking.

Reply 0

Osu 2 months ago

How do we then get out of this? Because the government that's supposed to enforce the rules are rather using the rules for exploitation. WH

Reply 0

BHUVANA K.B 2 months ago

Yes with Indian perspective, Osu

Reply 0

Osu 2 months ago

Ok..thanks

Reply 0

BHUVANA K.B 2 months ago

Just to share my little knowledge on this with urban communities. Which can be extended to the rural communities as well.

Our institution has completed one project funded by UK MRC. It was conducted in India, Bangladesh and Srilanka. The target population here was employees of the private companies. Peer mentoring model approach. Mentors selected within the company were trained with sessions conducted through workshops. Educative materials on tackling risk factors for cardiovascular disease was given to the mentor, selected within the company. They in turn train their peers, informally and formally. So the peers would consider mentor as role model.

Reply 0

Osu 2 months ago

Was there incentives given to the trained mentors?

Reply 0

BHUVANA K.B 2 months ago

Yes , incentives given to the mentors

Reply 0

View all replies (14)

Simon Willcock 2 months ago

I agree. In fact, I feel mobile phones are a key part of any future research and innovations (see my posts elsewhere and https://msds.tools/)

Reply 0

Charlene McShane 2 months ago

I agree with others that this sounds like a good idea. One concern I would have with sending out mass messages to the public for example about signs and symptoms of cancer or disease prevention would be the ability of the recipient to understand the message. Research would be needed to ensure that the message is appropriate and avoids overly complex language. Thinking of cancer signs/symptoms - picture images may have more impact than a text SMS but of course this would come at an additional price tag to the sender and may not be cost effective.

Interested to hear others view points.

Reply 0

DOUGLAS ORAMIS 2 months ago

I agree with you Charlene. But for such a system to be effective, there is need to start with diseases with a bit clear cut signs and symptoms. Those which need a bit of elaboration will gain traction in sync with other modes of information access such as print media.
Thanks Charlene for the comment, it brings a challenge which brings the aspect of finding a solution.

Reply 0

BHUVANA K.B 2 months ago

Hi Charlene, message we send would be evidence based. According to literacy level. It can be basics and beyond the basics. Material we prepare should be able to be read by 6th class child. So it should be understandable and simple language. UpToDate website https://www.uptodate.com/contents/diet-and-he...yond-the-basics
can give you an idea on this I hope. Even ACA, ADA guidelines will have recommendations for patient education in flow charts, pictorial representation of the text.

Reply 0

Charlene McShane 2 months ago

Hi Bhuvana,
I fully agree with your statements and that messages would need to be delivered at an appropriate level and be evidenced based. We need to be mindful that not every mobile phone user will be literate and there are also language/dialect barriers to consider when sending out mass messages. Picture messages or more creative ways of displaying the message may help to overcome these issues.

Reply 0

View all replies (3)

BHUVANA K.B 2 months ago

Charlene and others, Please look into the idea on "Improving health, social and economic impact utilizing WHO health systems framework with trans disciplinary approach for tackling global health challenges" posted by me (Bhuvana) . Since it is related to this and in addition to this, I would be happy to see comments. https://ukri.crowdicity.com/post/687880

Reply 0

Davis Ntwiga 1 month ago

Charles. Mechanisms have been developed to deal with spam messages (Emails) and am sure research is in progress to deal with fake news. Fake SMS might benefit from such research ideas

Reply 0

lauren clarke 2 weeks ago

Status label added: 1st Submission Gold Trophy

Reply 0

Share