What can we learn from system-generated digital health program data? Turns out, quite a lot

The Mobile for Reproductive Health (m4RH) digital health program is an automated, interactive and on-demand short message service (SMS, or text message) system that provides simple, accurate and relevant reproductive health information. FHI 360 led development of and piloted m4RH in 2009 in Kenya and Tanzania as one of the first platforms to take advantage of the increasing ubiquity of cell phones to put accurate family planning information for decision making directly into the hands of those who need it. m4RH is still operational in Tanzania.

When users access m4RH, the system captures the cell phone data producing massive amounts of participant interaction data. During the time m4RH has been operational in Tanzania, more than 400,000 unique users across every district of the country have used the service. In 2018, our research team conducted secondary data analysis of the longitudinal data captured in the system from 127 districts in Tanzania from September 2013 to August 2016. In this post we share what we learned about designing digital health interventions from this analysis, as well as how system-generated data can be analyzed to monitor and improve programming or to evaluate its impact.

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