LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

M-health services

The present day paper-based disease surveillance and notification systems in Sri Lanka and India, confined to a set of notifiable diseases, often require 15-30 days to communicate data and for the central Epidemiology Unit to process it. This latency does not allow for timely detection of disease outbreaks, and it limits the ability of the health system to effectively respond and mitigate their consequences.

The Real-Time Biosurveillance Program (RTBP) is a pilot aiming to introduce modern technology to health departments in Tamil Nadu, India, and Sri Lanka to complement the existing disease surveillance and notification systems. The processes involve digitizing all clinical health records and analysing them in near real-time to detect unusual events to forewarn health workers before the diseases reach epidemic states.

Clinical records from health facilities, namely the patient case disease, syndrome, and demographic information, are collected through the mHealthSurvey mobile phone application and fed in to the T-Cube Web Interface, which is a browser based software tool that uses the T-Cube data structure for fast retrieval and display of large scale multivariate time series and spatial information. Interface allows the user to execute complex queries quickly and to run various types of comprehensive statistical tests on the loaded data. The Sahana Alerting Module is used to disseminate detected adverse events to targeted health officials and health workers. The single input multiple output Sahana Alerting module adopts the global content standard: Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) for structuring the messages that are transported via SMS, Email, and Web on to mobile phones and personal computers.

The Real-Time Biosurveillance Program (RTBP) is a pilot project aiming to answer the question whether software programs that detect events in health symbolic and categorical data sets and mobile phones that collect health data and receive health alerts are able to predict and prevent disease outbreaks in near-real-time.

This study was part of a larger project on a Real-Time Biosurveillance Program (RTBP).  The project was led by Mr. Nuwan Waidyanatha.


Waidyanatha, N., Kannan, T.,  Ryer, S.,  V. Pushpa-Marry, V., Prashant, S., Muthiah, G. and  Gow, G. (2009). Challenges of operationalizing the real-time biosurveillance program’s m-HealthSurvey

Citation for the above report should be done as: Author Last Name, First Name Initial, (2009), Report Name, Retrieved Date, URL of document on LIRNEasia website.


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