Carriers pushing mHealth in Spain, France

By Brian Dolan
Share

A recent article in BusinessWeek chronicled the health related activities of Spanish mobile operator Telefonica and French mobile operator Orange, which include connected knee braces, emergency alerts, location tracking, remote monitoring of pacemakers and connecting glucometers via Bluetooth.

Remote monitoring knee braces: Telefonica is working with Barcelona's Hospital de la Esperanza on a knee brace embedded with motion sensors that allow physicians to remotely monitor patients' rehabilitation after they have been discharged. Some 200 patients are testing it right now and physicians watch avatars simulating the patients movements. Physicians can monitor patients from their PC or cell phone. Telefonica hopes to sell the device to hospitals worldwide after trials complete next year.

One button emergency alerts: France Telecom's Orange is working with Swedish phone maker Doro on a mobile phone for older consumers that includes an emergency button. The button will connect to an insurer's call center and enablers the user to call for an ambulance as well as to ask for help picking up prescriptions.

Alzheimer's patients tracking: In Spain, Telefónica is currently testing "mi familia," a service for Alzheimer's patients and their families. Family members or caregivers can track the patient's movements from an Internet portal to keep tabs on their location. The patient's phone is also programmed to call the family, physician or a taxi if needed.

Bluetooth glucometer: Vodafone owned t+Medical has already conducted 20 clinical trials with healthcare providers in the UK, US, and Dubai. One of the trials includes the use of a Bluetooth-enabled glucose meter for diabetes patients. The study found the patients improved their blood sugar levels when using the device and it also helped physicians monitor more patients.

Remote monitoring of pacemakers: France Telecom's Orange is working with Italian medical device company Sorin Group to create pacemakers and defibrillators that transmit data on a patient's heart rhythms to clinicians.