Seminar #4

Translating Laboratory Informatics into Patient Care: mHealth & Implementation Science

National Health Laboratory Service

No invitations necessary; open to all conference registrants

Saturday, 3 December 
CTICC room location: 2.61-2.63


  • Medical Technologists
  • Scientists
  • Diagnostic Suppliers
  • Pathologists
  • Program Managers


Mobile health (mHealth) technology plays a critical role in strengthening health systems through various modes of delivery such as easy, on-hand access to real-time laboratory results. Speed of communication between the laboratory and the health facilities and patients is a major deciding factor in how quickly a patient accesses health care; especially upon the diagnosis of an infectious disease such as tuberculosis (TB). The longer the time between test and result, the higher the risk of contagious persons circulating in the community, spreading disease. mHealth tools can be used to: 1) replace paper specimen forms and improve patient data collection at the point of care, 2) distribute digital patient records and results to multiple providers, 3) send notifications and instructions to patients, 4) send notifications and alerts to providers based on certain laboratory results, 5) create cloud-based databases for population analytics. However, implementing an mHealth programme that successfully delivers its indented impact, is complex and thus well defined strategies need to be set from the onset. This seminar will illustrate some of the successes of mHealth programmes in Africa; these successes will also elude to implementation challenges experienced in the field, and how these can be overcome.


  1. To understand the critical role that the laboratory has in terms of managing good quality mHealth programs.
  2. To understand the role of mHealth in the realm of patient care.
  3. To recognise different modes of result delivery to patients and health care workers.
  4. To recognise difference mobile devices offered within mHealth programs.


Naseem Cassim, National Priority Programs (NPP), National Health Laboratory Service & Department of Molecular Medicine and Haematology at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Naseem Cassim, MPH, is a member of staff at the National Priority Program (NPP) Unit at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS). He also has a joint appointment in the Department of Molecular Medicine and Haematology at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand. Most of the operational research undertaken, within the CD4 Unit, is in the field of laboratory medicine. This includes a focus on health economic evaluation and medical informatics. He has been an integral member of the NHLS team working towards the Ideal Clinic Initiative.

Brad Cunningham, Vice President, Implementation: SystemsOne, South Africa
Brad Cunningham is currently the Vice President, Implementation, and heads up the South African office, of SystemOne. Brad has spent his career focused on the information management for infectious disease diagnostics in developing countries and has a been involved in a number of initiatives ranging from academic research to system design & development for both public health institutions and diagnostic instrument providers. Throughout his career, Brad has been a strong advocate of connected diagnostics for healthcare and hopes to continue contributing to the diagnostic “internet of things” to not only improve both the quality of existing and future diagnostics; but ultimately patient care.

Lynsey Stewart-Isherwood, mHealth Program Manager and Medical Scientist at National Priority Programs (NPP), National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), South Africa
Ms Isherwood, MSc.(med) is the mHealth Program Manager and Medical Scientist at the National Priority Programs (NPP) Unit at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS). Ms Isherwood has worked within the HIV and TB research arena since 1998. In 2014, the NPP employed Ms Isherwood to develop their mHealth unit. To date, Ms Isherwood has been involved in the development and implementation of two TB linkage-to-care programs, as well as one HIV adherence program. Ms Isherwood’s current focus is to assist in scaling up viral load laboratories in Africa, by offering technical assistance around innovative solutions in pre- and post-laboratory analytics.

Peter Benjamin, Director: HealthEnabled, South Africa
Dr Peter Benjamin is the director of the non-profit HealthEnabled ( based in Cape Town, which builds integrated digital health to improve health outcomes at scale in countries of the global South. Before that he worked for the mHealth Alliance, and he was the managing director of Cell-Life, a non-profit leader in mHealth based in South Africa, for 8 years. He has 25 years experience in the use of Information & Communications Technology (ICT) for social change and development. He has worked for Poptel in the UK, the SA National Civic Organisation, the Universal Service Agency, the Association of Progressive Communications and was the founder in 1997 of the LINK Centre for research and education into ICT policy at Wits University.

Originally from the UK, he moved to South African in 1994. He has a first degree in Physics, a Masters in Information Technology and his PhD examined universal access to ICTs in SA. He is currently studying for a Masters in Public Health. Peter is a member of the People’s Health Movement of SA and the Treatment Action Campaign. He is married to Marion Stevens, and has two wonderful boys (Joel and Alex). Peter can be contacted on or 082 829 3353

Debre Barrett, Digital Designer & Product Manager, South Africa
Debré Barrett is a digital designer and product manager. She started her career as an online content producer in London, working for ITV and Channel 4, and creating award-winning websites for the BBC. In 2007 she co-founded user experience design agency Flow Interactive in Cape Town. She sold the business to Deloitte Digital in 2014 and worked at Deloitte as an associate director. She has led digital research and design projects for clients like Samsung, Old Mutual, Virgin Active, Google, and Barclays.

Musaed Abrahams, Clinician and Founder of Avirohealth, South Africa
Dr Musaed Abrahams has spent the last 12 years in the public and NGO sectors working in HIV/AIDS care in SA, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique. He has a special interest in developing e-health tools and resources for clinicians. In 2013 he founded Avirohealth, a company with a focus on health systems strengthening, through the application of technology and design. Projects include e-learning courses for the SA HIV Clinicians Society and the Aviro HIV Clinical Mentor, a decision-support application for clinicians which is supported by MTN Foundation and Kheth’impilo.

Vincent Lau Chan, mHealth Project Manager: Wits Reproductive Health & HIV Institute (RHI), South Africa
Vincent Lau Chan has been an mHealth Project Manager at Wits Reproductive Health & HIV Institute (RHI) in Johannesburg, South Africa since early 2014. He is a Biomedical Engineer who switched his career path to Public Health after working for more than 7 years in the pharmaceutical research industry. He was the co-inventor of a Levonorgestrel transdermal drug delivery system patent and has previously worked in various maternal and child health initiatives in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Additionally, Vincent’s focus in South Africa has been in the implementation and research of mHealth, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, and sexual reproductive health projects within the adolescent, women, children and sex worker population.

Craig Carty, Chief Executive Officer of The Relevance Network and a Barnett Scholar in the Department of Social Policy and Evidence-Based Intervention at the University of Oxford
Craig Carty is the Chief Executive Officer of The Relevance Network and a Barnett Scholar in the Department of Social Policy and Evidence-Based Intervention at the University of Oxford. He received his BA and MSc degrees in Anthropology & Human Biology from the University of Pennsylvania where he studied the psychosocial impacts of HIV disease and the clinical implications of antiretroviral therapies on bone metabolism.His primary focus is on mHealth interventions that engage HIV+ adolescents at risk for loss to care via interactive, “gamified” applications. The research interrogates the potential of “digital adherence” frameworks, predictive analytics and relevance engine design. He also oversees multi-country data harmonization efforts on behalf of Janssen’s New Horizons drug donation program and contributes to civil society strengthening using novel online assessment and training frameworks.