Introduction Mental healthcare remains a challenge in developing countries due to associated stigma, lack of specialists and facilities; and misdiagnosis of such illnesses. This results in inadequate care of patients with increased morbidity and mortality and high cost of care. The chronic nature of mental illnesses makes the little available care insufficient with loss of follow-up. As a result, it is difficult to specifically determine the epidemiology of mental illnesses worsening delivery of mental care. This abstract decribes a project that utilises mobile health and OpenMRS to develop a community based treatment and data collection tool for mental healthcare.
Methodology A mental health project was developed based on OpenMRS to be used in rural Kenya and Ghana. The mobile component is based on ODK running on android phones and used by community health workers (CHW) to undertake rural data collection and care. The CHW perform daily visits to patients at designated health delivery sites and the psychiatrist reviews data collection to assess clinical decisions made.
Results Using clinical data algorithms to aid diagnosis and epidemiological studies on various mental health illnesses, the ratio of access to mental care was increased. There was reduced dropout rates from the program thus supporting long term care that characterises the chronic nature of mental illnesses.
Conclusion Mobile health and ehealth technologies provide a platform for continued collection of epidemiological data while supporting clinical care by merging clinicians and CHW roles. This is crucial in developing countries with few health workers.