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Reviews Show Little Evidence Of Widespread Efficacy Of Mobile Health Interventions

“Mobile phone technology is frequently heralded as a solution to many health challenges facing the developing world, but two systematic reviews have found that evidence to back such claims is still largely non-existent,” SciDev.Net reports. The reviews, led by Caroline Free of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and published on Tuesday in PLoS Medicine, found “[t]here is a lack of rigorous studies in low- and middle-income settings — where experts agree that mobile health (mHealth) initiatives have tremendous potential,” according to the news service. “‘Our systematic review shows there is good evidence that text messaging interventions can increase adherence to antiretroviral medication and can increase smoking cessation,’ Free, a senior lecturer in epidemiology, said in a press release,” SciDev.Net writes. “The reviews call for additional rigorous tests of mobile health interventions, especially in low- and middle-income settings where the control group of ‘standard care’ might be very different from the standard care available in high-income countries,” the news service states (Tatalovic, 1/15).