Field Story: Using Smartphones for Maternal/Child Risk Screening in India

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Field Story: Using Smartphones for Maternal/Child Risk Screening in India

– By Ting Shih

Society for Nutrition, Education & Health Action (SNEHA pioneers using smart phones (Android) and ClickMedix mhealth program for maternal/child risk screening in Mumbai, India.

It all started with an email…

From SNEHA project coordinator: We are launching several new initiatives in which are quite large in scale and would benefit from the use of mobile monitoring… One of the projects is to monitor all malnourished under 3s in Dharavi and a key component of the intervention will be door to door monitoring by community health workers and peer educators. Since we are currently projecting that we will be directly monitoring approximately 9,000 malnourished under 3s, it is crucial we find better ways to understand our data in real time. We also need to understand the costs for implementing this kind of a system, including technical assistance.

In response, I wrote:

The way our system would work is as follows:
>>Information collection by health workers:
1. You provide information on what data you need to collect from in-house visits, as well as any risk screening you need to conduct
2. We customize our system to enable you to collect the data and conduct risk assessment/triage (by way of questionnaires to be asked by health workers)
3. Your health worker use a smartphone application (we support Androids and iPhones) to collect required data
4. You as program administrator can view real-time data and patient progress in report formats you desire
We can also include health assessment education materials onto the smartphone to enhance health worker training.
>>Remote consultation for patient complications that require physician attention:
1. You provide contact information of doctors that would serve your patient community, if you don’t have any at this point we may be able to help you identify them 

2. We set up remote consultation to enable your health workers to send patient information for remote consulting doctor
3. Remote consulting doctor logs onto our web portal to provide treatment advice
4. Community health worker is notified of a new advice from the remote doctor and administers treatment accordingly
5. Community health worker enters an update indicating treatment actually administered
6. You as program administrator can view real-time patient health condition and monitor treatments administored in report formats you desire. We can also structure the system to function like a mini EMR (electronic medical record) system.

Soon after developing risk screening questions, we deployed SNEHA maternal / child risk monitoring in Hindi, on Samsung Galaxy Y devices which are readily available in Mumbai.


The responses from health workers are very positive, and health workers welcomed the use of new technology.

Health worker benefits from ClickMedix system

Sabina is one of the 18 health workers responsible for surveying mothers and children in Mumbai SNEHA project site. When asked about her experience, she said:

Now we are in a computer world and everywhere computers are being used. In my area while filling the form on the mobile I feel proud…Community people are surprised that we are filling their form in mobiles and not on paper.



Similarly, Udaykumari Biju said, “When I used screen touch mobile I feel very good. When I used it I was eager to know more about the menu and the various options; I used it very easily.”






Within about 3 months, the 18 health workers completed their initial risk screening and screened over 200 mothers and children. Each submission contains GPS data and customized responses to their survey questionnaires. All data collected can be exported to facilitate development of associated intervention programs faster than ever before. For more information, contact or visit SNEHA Mumbai (