Baby Monitor: Connecting women and infants to care
Baby Monitor, a mobile interactive voice response system, will bring clinical assessment and referrals directly to mothers and their infants in resource-poor settings who are unlikely to access routine care. To date, mobile applications largely have been used to send patient reminders and health information or to collect patient information through intermediaries such as community health workers. Patients in developing countries have not been end-users of mobile diagnostic tools and medical record systems. If successful, this innovation could save lives, improve health outcomes, and optimize the use of extension workers in rural and remote regions where access to health systems is limited and clinical assessment often occurs too late or not at all. Baby Monitor will help mothers to assess the signs and symptoms of newborn and maternal ill-health in the weeks before and after birth. The system will assess responses to verbal screening questions, provide mothers with health information, and, when necessary, make referrals, alert healthcare providers, and dispatch appropriate healthcare workers. This mixed methods study will evaluate the accuracy of Baby Monitor in detecting newborn and maternal health problems in the pre- and postnatal period; its effect on health outcomes; the acceptability of this service both for providers and for mothers as end-users; and the feasibility of integrating this low-cost application into health systems to improve service delivery. Our empirical strategy will include consecutive Phase I and Phase II prevention trials in Kenya to establish early evidence of efficacy and a qualitative study of feasibility and acceptability.