Essay Example on Other uses for mobile phones









Other uses for mobile phones Over 48 72 participants of the mobile phone users reported usage of the alarm function mostly for waking up Only two respondents 3 used their phone alarm as a reminder for medications All the respondents requested delivery of health care related information via mobile phones Information on medicines 40 advances in TB care 44 reminders for medications 25 and motivational health messages 21 were among the major types of information requested Furthermore of the total respondent pool only 24 were willing to use their mobile phones given an opportunity to contact their healthcare provider by voice calling them The remainder either rarely or never would contact their provider for health care related queries DISCUSSION With their ubiquitous presence and ever decreasing costs of owning a mobile phone and network services in resource limited settings the usage of devices for the remote delivery of health care is quintessential in the modern day context Tuberculosis a chronic disease can be significantly associated with barriers like stigma lower rates of long term medication compliance privacy concerns and transport limitations for in person DOT regimens Mobile device based programs can help overcome these barriers while also serving as a financially effective solution 

Motivational health messages and language customized medication reminders can be made available to a larger and a more diverse population Several studies have consistently shown the benefits of phone based interventions and illustrate the growing popularity of digitalizing health care particularly in resource limited settings Medication reminders These reminders can be sent through mobile phones either as a voice call or SMS message and would help increase medication compliance in chronic communicable and non communicable diseases A majority of our respondents agreed to receiving reminders for their illness without such an intervention being considered an intrusion into their privacy 99DOTS program introduced in India serves to send reminders to patients who missed their doses in reality and those who might have forgotten to place missed calls to register their doses 25 A randomized trial in Ghana has shown that a single time targeted SMS sent daily over just three days can have improved adherence outcomes in malarial treatment 24 The possibility of similar interventions having an impact on TB adherence a chronic illness can definitely be explored given the immense potential atleast in the Indian context High mobile phone ownership rates we found in our study could serve as an added advantage Preferred type of communication SMS vs Voice calls 

A study conducted at Lesotho Africa reported high uptake of SMS interventions with 92 of HIV TB patients choosing to receive SMS messages as an acceptable form of health care delivery system 18 Contrary to studies like this a majority of our study participants preferred voice calls in comparison to SMS Young employed and educated respondents were more likely to use SMS as a preferred mode of communication The employed participants preferred reading an SMS as opposed to answering a phone call most probably due to lesser availability of time higher literacy rates privacy concerns and ease of use Another possible reason for the low uptake of SMS based reminders could be the usual language of communication they have been accustomed to receiving such messages which is English Text reminders could be made available in regional languages which would target the audience with higher efficacy It has been found that SMS messages are an acceptable form of health care delivery elsewhere but nonetheless in the Indian context we recommend voice calls as the preferred mode of communication An alternate to this would be the usage of pictorial text messages that could help overcome the language barrier 21

Virtual video based DOT using camera phones as an alternative to in person DOT Chronic illnesses like TB in a third world country like India are associated with poor socio economic status stigma and lack of adequate transportation facilities To circumvent barriers to adherence many studies have introduced and tested the concept of a virtual based DOT regimen Our study found that 142 77 of the participants preferred video based DOT program with 88 of these individuals citing time and money being saved or avoidance of repeated DOT visits as the most common reasons Challenges faced by video based DOT regimens 8 14 of our respondents expressed concern sending their video over to the health care provider These patients were apprehensive about the inability to keep the diagnosis secretive with family members due to stigma unknown people watching their videos possibility of these videos making their way to social media and not being comfortable videotaping themselves Although some of these issues can be curtailed by adequately educating the patient regarding confidentiality and privacy stigma related matters might still continue to pose a barrier to the usage of video based DOT regimens Study limitations Given the tier 1 location of the city from where the participants were recruited it is possible the patient responses may not be accurately representative of rural populations in India Since the majority of the study participants were new cases yet to be started on treatment there was missing data regarding DOT enrollment money and time spent travelling to the DOT center These variables were not considered in the analysis given the large proportions of missing data that was inevitable

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