Open Source mHealth Solutions Spreading Rapidly

There are already over 4 billion mobile devices in use around the world — 64 percent of them are in the hands of people living in emerging market economies — and the numbers are only growing. In the coming decade, innovative mobile health (mHealth) solutions will dramatically change the daily clinical practices of many health care providers and the lives of their patients. Many of these will be open source solutions, e.g. Sana, eMOCHA, JavaROSA.

Sana is a smartphone application written for the Android operating system that allows health workers to collect medical data (audio, video, free text) and send this data using the cellular network to an electronic medical record system. They have active projects in Brazil, two sites in India, two sites in the Philippines, and project partners implementing the system in Haiti, Kenya, and Greece.

eMOCHA is a free open-source application, developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education. eMOCHA is designed to assist health programs in developing countries improve provider communication and education, as well as patient care, by coordinating wireless devices with local server-based clinical training and patient care support services.

JavaROSA is an open source mHealth application currently in use in sub-Saharan Africa that has substantial code contributions from multiple institutions, including for-profit, non-profit, and academic institutions. JavaROSA’s framework architecture is flexible and modular, allowing the development of wholly new applications with minimal new code.

The U.S. government has also gotten into the act with an online app store offering a wide range of free mobile apps that are in the public domain. These include mobile health apps that can be found at USA.Gov Mobile Apps.

Go to the Resources section of Open Health News to find out more about open source mHealth health systems, projects, and activities. Also check out MobileHealthWatch, MobiHealthNews, and the mHealth Alliance web sites.