Leading mHealth innovation and evidence in British Columbia: HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis patient engagement in care
In 2014, mobile phone subscriptions will outnumber the world’s population. Expanded mobile phone use presents a tremendous opportunity to engage patients in care, particularly those in remote or isolated situations.
The aim of Dr. Lester’s program is to confer health benefits to British Columbians through world-leading innovation and the implementation of evidence-based mobile health (mHealth) solutions. The research program started in Kenya with a landmark trial (WelTel Kenya1) that demonstrated that text messaging improved HIV treatment adherence and health outcomes. This trial directly influenced global HIV treatment and mHealth guidelines.
In his research program, Dr. Lester will conduct an implementation science evaluation of the mHealth service, focused on integrating WelTel into care to improve the health of those living with HIV and related conditions in BC. He will investigate how WelTel can best be expanded to other clinics and outreach settings.
Overall, this research will provide necessary insight into the appropriate use of mobile technology to improve health services for British Columbians at scale. Dr. Lester’s research program stands to inform mHealth innovations and applications for the improved management of a myriad of infectious and chronic diseases. As this project will be embedded in a Global Health program, it will benefit from the context of broader networks of health and technology, and will likewise contribute to global standards in the field.