mHero is a two-way, mobile phone-based communication system that uses basic text messaging, or SMS, to connect ministries of health and health workers. mHero operates on simple talk-and-text mobile devices—no smartphone or tablet required.
Health officials can use mHero to:
- Communicate critical messages to health workers during a crisis or emergency response.
- Target messages to health workers based on cadre, location, or skill set.
- Collect critical information that powers resilient health systems, including stock levels, routine and one-time assessments, and validation of health worker and facility data.
- Provide care reminders and manage client referrals to strengthen clinical support.
mHero is not a new technology. It’s a way to connect data from existing health information systems to allow for targeted, real-time communication. mHero brings together existing components of a country’s health information system using open international interoperability standards for health information exchange.
IntraHealth International and UNICEF created mHero in August 2014 to support health-sector communication during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. Since then, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Liberia has integrated the platform into its health information system infrastructure to meet ongoing communication needs for a variety of health services. Guinea and Sierra Leone have also implemented mHero.
mHero leverages the principles and standards of OpenHIE—a global community of practice dedicated to improving the health of the underserved through open, collaborative development. The platform currently brings together the following open source technologies:
- iHRIS: Free suite of software developed by IntraHealth International for managing health workforce information.
- DHIS 2: Flexible, web-based health management information system with robust visualization features supported by the Health Information System Programme at the University of Oslo.
- RapidPro: A free, open source framework designed by UNICEF to send and receive data using basic mobile phones, manage complex workflows, automate analysis, and present data in real-time.
- OpenHIE's InterLinked Health Worker Registry: Application developed by OpenHIE that aggregates the key attributes for all health workers from multiple human resource information systems and can securely share and validate health worker information using dependable, easy-to-adopt messaging standards.
mHero doesn’t require these specific technologies. It can work with any health workforce information system or communication software compliant with the global OpenHIE principles for health information exchange.
This short, animated “whiteboard” video provides an overview of mHero, including the story of how it was created to respond to the Ebola epidemic and results from its initial use in Liberia. The video was developed in June 2015 by IntraHealth in collaboration with the USAID-funded K4Health project.