How does the cellular phone help in epidemiological surveillance? A review of the scientific literature

Abstract : BACKGROUND: In the field of epidemiological surveillance, no systematic literature review appears to exist of implemented projects using cellular phone technology. METHOD: We performed a systematic literature review using the Pubmed and Scopus databases to retrieve articles published up to December 2015. We analyzed information reported in these publications according to the mobile health (mHealth) evidence reporting and assessment (mERA) checklist, and complemented this work with specific items related to epidemiology, in order to clarify the types of results reported and summarized in this context. RESULTS: Thirty-three articles were selected and reviewed. Each article was related to a different project. Two mERA items were systematically and fully reported, while two others were never reported. Three projects were deployed in very specific zones. Most of the projects were implemented in Africa. Infectious diseases were the elements most monitored. Most projects were based on daily data collection and SMS transmission. Economic assessment was limited to SMS, mobile phone, and implementation costs. DISCUSSION-CONCLUSION: Although suitable for epidemiologic surveillance, the mERA checklist needs further interpretation. The technical and transmission modes of cellular phone use varied greatly from one study to another. No evaluation of the interoperability capabilities of cellular phones with other applications or sub-systems was possible.
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Boukary Ouedraogo, Jean Gaudart, Jean-Charles Dufour. How does the cellular phone help in epidemiological surveillance? A review of the scientific literature. Informatics for Health and Social Care, Taylor & Francis, 2017, Epub ahead of print. ⟨10.1080/17538157.2017.1354000⟩. ⟨inserm-01969784⟩

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