At the Mobile World Congress underway in Barcelona today, the UN Foundation and Vodafone Foundation announced a new initiative to study how mobile health technologies may be harnessed to improve health care in Brazil’s indigenous communities.    These are among the most remote and hardest to reach places on earth so there is a great value in exploring how mobile technology can streamline the delivery of healthcare.

Project partners include the Pan American Health Organization and the Brazilian Ministry of Health.   From the news release. (Disclosure).

The research now underway in Brazil focuses on one community, building on the broader findings of the first publication in this series, entitled Health Information and Health Care: The Role of Technology in Unlocking Data and Wellness. This broad-based paper was published today by the UN Foundation and Vodafone Foundation, in collaboration with the mHealth Alliance (mHA).

The discussion paper examines three key health domains—disease surveillance, supply chains, and human resources—and identifies critical bottlenecks in data collection and transfer.  The report highlights opportunities for improving maternal and newborn health by using information and communications technologies, particularly mobile technology, to streamline health information flows.

“The ubiquity of mobile devices presents a unique opportunity to break through an often fragmented universe of health data and to help facilitate the flow of health information, whether through simple voice calls, SMS messaging, or wireless data transmission,” said Jody Ranck, lead author of the report. “Moreover, when data is shared readily from the village level to central health systems and back again, it can help prevent stock-outs of key medical supplies and other immediate problems, while promoting accountability and providing practitioners with knowledge of how the data they collect is being used.”

The full series of reports will be available at HealthUnBound.