Description: The overall goal of this course is to give students the knowledge, skills and experience they need to participate in decision-making about developing, implementing, and continuing mHealth services addressing major public health and healthcare challenges.
Course Goals: The course has two aims: First, to give students an understanding of how mHealth tools and programs are used to impact health behaviors in a range of important areas, including chronic disease management, mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment, and global health. Students will learn about the challenges to behavior change as well as the factors that impact mHealth program design and sustainability. As part of that process students will sharpen their skills in finding, interpreting, and applying scientific evidence about mHealth programs. We will discuss where evidence can be found, and we will critique specific randomized trials and systematic reviews. Second, students will gain hands-on experience in developing, deploying, and evaluating an mHealth program via a series of exercises using a "real world" mHealth communication tool. That experience coupled with the more didactic presentation of the field will prepare students to design a hypothetical mHealth campaign addressing the public health challenge of their choice, specifying issues such as: the communication channels employed (texting, automated calls, apps, special sensors), content development, recruitment in the target population, data security, and program evaluation. The course will be a mix of lectures, group projects, guest speakers, and individual written projects.
Competencies: 1) Describe the key characteristics of mHealth interventions, the pluses and minuses of various design features, and the populations in which mHealth interventions have and have not shown promise;
2) Be able to design, deploy, and evaluate an mHealth campaign using LifeData software;
3) Be able to describe the development of an mHealth campaign, discussing key issues that drive system design including the reach of mHealth tools in the target population, strengths and weaknesses of various communication channels for the problem of interest, factors determining content development, interconnectivity with other data systems used by health professionals, strategies for financial sustainability and scaling, and indicators of program success.