Summary: Case studies from the Vital Wave mHealth Report
Richard Anderson1 and Noah Perin, November, 2009
In February, 2009, Vital Wave issued the report "mHealth for Development" for the United Nations and
Vodafone foundations. The report showcases 51 projects in the intersection of mobile technologies
and health care in the developing world. Although the report does not give background on why this
group of projects was selected, they appear to be representative of current mHealth projects, so we
decided to analyze the outcomes of the projects to get a sense as to whether these projects lead to
sustainable solutions in the field. Our basic method was to follow the provided web links and to do
independent web searches to seek information on outcomes. We collected information on sponsorship,
project outcomes, project scale and sustainability, and then classified the projects into four categories:
A. Predeployment: No evidence of deployment of technology in the field.
B. Completed pilot: Deployment of technology, but project is now completed or no longer active.
C. Continuing pilot: Continuing deployment of technology at a modest scale.
D. Scaled and sustained system: Large scale deployment that is continuing.
We were subjective in drawing the line between pilot and scaled deployment, with a general thought of
a scaled system was one that impacted thousands of people. (The vast majority of projects classified as
pilots were well below this level). Of the 51 projects, we classified 9 as predeployment, 27 as
completed pilots, 8 as continuing pilots, and 7 as potentially being at scale. The seven scaled projects,
ranked from largest to smallest by our estimate of size were: