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mPossible! Health Workers Can Get Training Anytime, Anywhere with Interactive Voice Response

Advances in mobile health—or mHealth—have expanded the realm of possibility for remote education, diagnostic and treatment support, communication and training, disease tracking, monitoring, and data collection.

Every day, mHealth grows to include more sophisticated applications for high-tech smartphones and tablets.

But what about health workers—specifically those in rural areas who don’t have access to the latest technology?To learn more about mLearning (or mobile learning) for health workers, IntraHealth International, through the CapacityPlus project, piloted an innovative program to provide refresher training to family planning service providers in Senegal using interactive voice response (IVR) technologies on basic mobile phones.

Health workers need ongoing refresher training to retain skills they already have.

I’ve been very excited to follow this unique initiative. Because while many in global health want to capitalize on the newest apps or fast and fancy ways to use tablets, not everyone has access to these resources.Health workers who provide family planning and other services need in-service training to learn new skills and best practices in counseling and service provision.

They also need ongoing refresher training to retain skills they already have.IntraHealth’s IVR mLearning platform is designed to provide distance training to health workers using a simple cell phone with text and talk capabilities. The IVR mLearning platform delivers more content than a standard text message but does not require an expensive smartphone or tablet.

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This post originally appeared on the K4Health blog. Photo © 2013 Chelsea Hedquist, Courtesy of Photoshare.