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mHero and Mobile Phones

mHero Functionality

mHero System and Interoperability

mHero and Mobile Phones

Is mHero an app?

No, mHero is not an app or application, or a software program that is downloaded onto individual phones. mHero is a platform that brings together multiple information systems for rapid SMS communication. 

Do health workers need smartphones to use mHero?

No, mHero uses SMS platforms that require a simple text message response. 

What kinds of mobile devices work best for mHero?

mHero works on any kind of mobile device that supports text messaging. Though smartphones are not required, mHero will work on a smartphone as well as a talk-and-text phone. 

How much do text messages cost when using mHero?

The cost of text messages depends on the local market and negotiations with the mobile network operators in your country. If using RapidPro, UNICEF may be able to assist the ministry in negotiations with local mobile network operators.

mHero Functionality

What resources do I need to operate mHero?

People: mHero operates best when managed by a committed team in the ministry of health that can engage with different units of the ministry to prioritize needs and report results. The team will need access to an experienced developer to maintain the backend of the system. But the day-to-day creation of messages and workflows can be done by someone with basic computer skills. 

Internet: mHero is built by facilitating the interoperability of a health worker information system and an SMS platform. Internet is needed to support these respective systems. 

Money: While the platform is built on free technologies, you will be responsible for the cost of sending texts through your mobile network operator (MNO) and your staff’s time for using and maintaining the system. In some cases, UNICEF or other organizations may be available to assist you in negotiating lower rates with MNOs. Engaging MNOs early when planning your mHero implementation is critical to evaluating text message costs.

What is RapidPro?

RapidPro is an open source platform that allows anyone to build interactive messaging systems using an easy visual interface. More information on RapidPro can be found here.

What is iHRIS?

iHRIS is free, open source software for managing health workforce information. More information about iHRIS can be found here.

Can I use mHero if we do not have iHRIS?

Yes! mHero can be used with any human resource information system (HRIS) used by the ministry of health in your country to manage health workforce data. Critical information about health workers will be needed, such as cadre, location, contact information, and other pertinent details to tailor messages, but this information does not need to be housed in iHRIS specifically. As long as your HRIS can publish its data to the InterLinked Health Worker Registry according to the Care Services Discovery standard, you will be able to use mHero. 

Can I use mHero if we do not use RapidPro?

Yes! While RapidPro is an integral part of the mHero platform, you can use any SMS software platform to create the text sequences, or workflows. iHRIS is currently set up to work with RapidPro and soon will be compatible with CommCare in the MOTECH Suite.

What is a workflow?

A workflow is a sequence of text messages sent using mHero. For example, if you ask health workers a yes-or-no question, the workflow maps out which message the respondents who said no will receive next, and which message will go to those who said yes.

Are experienced developers required to develop workflows in RapidPro?

No, RapidPro is user-friendly and easy to use. With just a bit of practice, anyone can develop workflows in RapidPro. 

mHero System and Interoperability

What technology is needed to set up mHero?

The ministry will need a server with at least 2.4GHZ CPU Speed/Core and 4GB or above of memory, which is connected to the internet and running Ubuntu operating system (14.04 or above is recommended). The individual applications that make up mHero can be installed on this server. mHero will then be connected with an SMS gateway which will serve as a way of sending and receiving messages. There are several ways to set up an SMS gateway. One simple, cost-effective way is to use an Android smartphone with RapidPro installed and configured to communicate with mHero. 

How do the systems work together?

mHero the boxes speak is a short YouTube video that provides a simple, graphical description of how all of the systems come together.

What does interoperability mean?

In health care, interoperability is the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged.

How do I set up the interoperability between iHRIS and RapidPro?

This short YouTube video provides a quick introduction on how to link iHRIS and RapidPro in the mHero application.