How mHealth Assist POCkeT Colposcope Utilization

Updated: Sep 5, 2019

Shengjie Xu

mHealth is a term used to define mobile health service. mHealth covers a broad range of medical capabilities that refers to the use of mobile phones and internet technologies to provide direct and preventative medical services. mHealth has now become a cornerstone of medical strategy for multiple non-profit organizations due to its capacity to reach remote areas and leverage the capabilities of technology. mHealth has been integrated into the design of Duke’s POCkeT colposcope that enables health providers to operate the device with ease.

Functions of the POCkeT colposcope mHealth app

The purpose of the POCkeT colposcope is to take high-quality images of patients’ cervix. The ability to capture and store the image is a key function of the mobile app for POCkeT colpsocope. The app disables the camera on the mobile phone and obtains images from POCkeT colposcope. After the image is captured, the annotation function in the app allows providers to mark the suspicious lesion. The image can then be stored in the app and sync with electronic chart.In addition to the basic image capture function the mobile app for POCkeT colposcope also contains calendar system that stores patients’ information for the follow-up visit. Although the goal of POCkeT colposcope is to treat patients within the same day of screening, there can be times that patients may need further check-up after the treatment. This calendar function can remind the healthcare provider of the upcoming appointments. The insufficient number of trained health workers is a barrier to successful screening and diagnosis of cervical cancer in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Thus, POCkeT colposcope mobile app integrates the education section to train health workers how to diagnose cervical cancer based on the colposcopy images. It also uses quizzes and award system to encourage and facilitate learning. Overall, the functionality of the POCkeT colposcope is largely expanded by mHealth, which ease the process of diagnosis for health worker and provide education information to train more health providers.

Additional value of mHealth added to the POCkeT colposcope

mHealth has been integrated into the design of Duke’s POCkeT colposcope covering various functions, but its capabilities can reach even beyond this single device. mhealth is massively flexible and can be used to facilitate treatment, organize medical information, facilitate better access and logistical support for healthcare access, telemedicine or be embedded into medical devices such as the POCkeT colposcope. Below are a few ideas of ways that mHealth can contribute to the POCkeT colposcope:

1) Address the challenges by encouraging more women to cervical cancer screening through the POCkeT colposcope. A great example of this capability is a Duke mHealth project aimed at creating a digital marketplace to assist patients of family planning. This particular project utilizes mobile technology to connect women and families with providers to choose their preferred contraceptive methods, referrals and transportation for contraception.Currently the POCkeT colposcope mobile app is only designed for the health care providers who operate the device. A similar version of mobile app that targets the patient can be helpful to educate and encourage more women to seek for screening.This can include and a mobile chart system to communicate with their gynecology health providers about their concerns and a calendar to remind women for the next screening appointment.

2) Increasing access to information and better education. Due to the pervasiveness of cervical cancer in low-income countries, it is critical for women to have access to high-quality and accurate information to treatment and diagnosis information. Epic Allies, a unique mHealth initiative that targets HIV awareness, integrates a wide range of strategies into a technological platform. The app uses gaming, anonymous social interactions, medication reminders, and healthy habit rewards systems to encourage adherence to HIV treatment. The patient version of POCkeT colposcope app can also integrate the education section that provides prevention and treatment information for cervical cancer. Reluctance to get screening often arises from the fear of unknown. These information can empower women to take control of their own health and make wise decisions to prevent cervical caner. These examples of mHealth demonstrate how mHealth can contribute to the POCkeT colposcope by supporting the device directly and indirectly. The technology used affords researchers and designers a high degree of flexibility that continues to create potential to adapt and change with the POCkeT technology.


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