That India has more mobile phones than toilets is a joke which may/ may not be funny, depending on the way you look at it. But given the reality of the huge reach of mobile phones, what are the benefits healthcare can draw from this trend? Since about 80% of Indians have access to mobile phones, it makes sense to look at using mobiles to increase reach of healthcare.
Mobile health is the proverbial idea whose time has come. ‘Mobile Phones: The Next Step towards Healthcare Delivery in Rural India’, a recently published study details the results of a survey of acceptability of mobile health among rural Indians.
Of a total 608 households in a southern Bangalore village, 488 were eligible for this survey. 99% of the households were open to receiving health information on mobile phones. Topics that participants preferred information on included
- healthy living,
- maternal and child health
Most respondents wanted the information in local language. 75% were willing to call their doctor using their mobile phones for the management of an acute illness. Voice calls followed by Pictorial messages were found to be the most preferred form of communications.
People have shown preference for information about healthy lifestyles, Nutrition and maternal child health care. Small studies like this are useful pointers to what drives mass adoption of mobile health services and should be followed closely for the insight they provide!
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