July 2017 Global Digital Health Network Meeting: New M&E Tools

Our thanks to FHI 360 for hosting the July Global Digital Health Network meeting! We saw 46 people in the room and had nearly 100 participate either online or via phone for a morning focused on new monitoring and evaluation-related resources for health. Speakers included  Dr. Garrett Mehl from WHO's RMNCH team on the recent M&E Guide, Smisha Agarwal of Johns Hopkins University on the mERA checklist, and Ms. Christine Lasway of Palladium discussing M&E around m4RH.

Dr. Garrett Mehl presented an overview of the World Health Organization’s Toolkit for Monitoring and Evaluating Digital Health Interventions, developed via an innovation working group with the UN Foundation, supported by NORAD, which oversaw 3 cohorts of 24-month long grants to mHealth projects focused on accelerating achievement of health MDGs. Research and technical support was provided by WHO and the Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative. Objectives of the Toolkit include practical guidance for projects to strengthen monitoring and evaluation to increase potential for scaling up and ensuring impact; providing an introduction to monitoring of project deployments; evaluating outcomes and cost-effectiveness; and providing tools for data quality assessment and reporting.

Our second speaker, Dr. Smisha Agarwal, has a decade of experience working on the implementation and evaluation of large scale maternal and child health projects. She presented on the mHealth Evidence Reporting and Assessment (mERA) checklist, which is to be used by authors to improve the reporting of mHealth interventions; Improve transparency in reporting, promote critical assessment of mHealth research; through standardized quality of reporting improve quality of evidence; identify minimum set of information needed to define:

–     Content: What is the intervention?

–     Context: Where it is being implemented?

–     Technical features: How it was implemented

The mERA Checklist does not aim to support design or implementation of mHealth studies or evaluate the quality of research methods used. For details on the reporting methodologies and criteria, or quantitative criteria for grading, see the PPT attached.

Christine Lasway – formerly of FHI 360 when her presented work was conducted – now leads and manages the Costed Implementation Plan (CIP) team at The Palladium Group, providing technical guidance to countries. In her previous role as Senior Technical Advisor, Family Planning, Ms. Lasway focused on sexual and reporoductive health, HIV/AIDS and MNCH with expertise in digital health, strategy and evidence implementation. Her topic this morning focused on measuring user engagement for the m4RH service, an SMS-based health communication program where users opt-in for messages and utilize a menu drive-platform for engagement. Without measurement of engagement, how can we measure success? She touched on reach, promotion, user profiles, vanity metrics, annual and monthly data reporting, and new perspectives on data through acquisition/engagement/use as well as retention, loyalty and churn. I encourage everyone interested to open her PPT, attached, to learn more.

We will be hosting the next Global Digital Health Networking meeting on August 16th hosted by the MCSP program. Click here for details and to reserve a spot!

Heidi + Amanda