Title: Connecting End Users to Domain Experts With Universal Mobile Phones Services
Advisor: Richard Anderson
Supervisory Committee: Richard Anderson (Chair), Sarah Odell Gimbel-Sherr (GSR, Global Health), Kurtis Heimerl, and Katharina Reinecke
Abstract: The potential for the communication services available on any mobile phone to engage users and facilitate behavior change has been well documented. Designing programs for individual empowerment and behavior change using SMS and voice services allows projects to reach marginalized segments of the global population. The majority of mobile messaging services for development are either one-way push messaging or use fully automated bidirectional end points. While these projects are easy to scale, reaching large numbers of people with limited human resources, they have difficulty addressing personalized needs. In addition as the size of a project increases it becomes important to plan and adapt to unexpected health concerns and outcomes. In this work we examine the implications, limitations, and feasibility of semi-automated bi-directional mobile messaging applications for global health. Our research aims induce 1) to better understand how end users perceive and understand specific personalized health information, 2) design and build tools that allow domain experts to more efficiently and effectively communicate with end users, 3) explore the feasibility of integrating semi-automated messaging into the current standard of care. Specifically, we will iteratively design, build, and deploy a platform targeting maternal and neonatal health outcomes in peri-urban and rural Kenya. This work establishes a research agenda answering these questions with data from three trails utilizing the platform and the planned deployment of a fourth.