Medly Uganda is a mobile health (mHealth) project that is a joint collaboration between UINCD, Yale University (CT, USA), and University Health Network (Toronto, Canada). Medly Uganda builds upon the experience and expertise of UHN’s Centre for Digital Therapeutics (formerly Centre for Global eHealth Innovation) in designing and implementing Medly, a self-care application for patients with heart failure.
Medly Uganda leverages a Government of Uganda-owned and -operated mHealth platform called FamilyConnect which uses technologies (USSD and SMS) available on all types of mobile phones to provide self-care education for pregnant and postpartum women.
In 2018, Uganda Ministry of Health authorized UINCD to develop and integrate NCD modules into the FamilyConnect platform.
The process of adapting Medly to the Ugandan context involved extensive stakeholder engagement and mixed methods research with a focus on user-centered and service design. Medly Uganda uses patient symptom reporting to triage patients’ level of symptom severity, provide relevant self-care information, connect them with a clinician, and make treatment recommendations.
We developed a clinician-facing dashboard that automatically integrates the reported symptoms and system output with clinician documentation to enhance longitudinal care. Our pilot clinical trial, “An accessible, scalable, patient-facing mHealth application for self-care of heart failure in LMIC” was funded by the National Institutes of Health (clinicaltrials.gov: NCT04426630) and was implemented at the Uganda Heart Institute. We continue to work on further contextual adaptations of Medly Uganda with a focus on improving equitable access and to explore applications for this promising tool in other chronic conditions.