The Development and Implementation of an mHealth-based Mentoring Application for Use in Resource-Constrained Settings
Background and Purpose: Clinical mentoring remains important in improving the quantity and quality of human resources for health (HRH) within low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Few digital health solutions exist to support in-field mentoring. We herein describe the development and implementation of a robust HRH mentoring application for use within LMIC care settings. Our objective was to improve the quality of health care services through the collection of high-quality mentoring information that could be utilized expeditiously to improve programming.
Methods: We adopted a user-centered approach to gather key features needed for the mHealth mentoring application, and internally developed the system leveraging agile approaches. Usability testing was conducted, and system improvements were made prior to wider-scale implementation of the mentoring application.
Results: The developed mentoring application had three key components: (1) an android-based mHealth application for mentors, (2) a server-side application, and (3) a web-based front-end for platform administration. The mHealth application was used during routine mentoring sessions through smartphone devices capacitating users to collect mentoring session data, synchronize collected data to a secure server, and view individualized summary mentoring reports. The application was successfully implemented at health facilities supported by Friends in Global Health in Zambézia Province, Mozambique. By June 2019, 172 mentors were using the application and over 5,500 mentoring sessions were recorded into the system.
Conclusions: An HRH mentoring mHealth application extends the reach of conventional solutions to support the provision of continuous provider education by placing digital technology in the hands of mentors performing on-site mentoring activities.Keywords:
Mentoring, mHealth, Capacity building, Point-of-care, Mozambique