Egypt works on mhealth pilot program
Initiative uses Mobinil’s 3G network to allow dermatologists to remote consult patients using pictures, video
Qualcomm Incorporated through its Wireless Reach initiative, along with Mobinil, Click Diagnostics, the Egyptian Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) have launched a pilot program to test the technology framework designed to allow dermatologists to use Mobinil's 3G mobile network to diagnose skin conditions remotely.
"The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has facilitated the integration of ICT in health services and the provision of telemedicine to the remote and rural areas of Egypt," said Dr Hoda Baraka, first deputy to the Minister of ICT. "The Egyptian Teledermatology initiative, using mobile health technology, is inspired by pursuing equal opportunities for health services anywhere in Egypt and expanding medical insurance to all citizens. E-health programs bring better diagnostic and health services to a wider segment of the Egyptian society."
The program sites, located in Cairo, enable physicians to photograph patient skin conditions and write down symptoms in text format using a 3G enabled wireless device.
The consultation information is then sent through Mobinil's 3G HSPA mobile broadband network to other physicians to diagnose the ailment.
"This project is very important for the Ministry of Health because it fulfills our objectives of providing the most current health resources to patients," said Mohamed Nabeel Hamad, general administration of hospitals director, Curative Sector, Egyptian Ministry of Health. "The knowledge generated through this project will enable improvement in our future approach to care."
During the pilot phase both an onsite physician and a remote specialist will diagnose skin conditions, the results will then be compared to confirm the diagnosis.
Currently diagnostic comparisons between the onsite physician and the remote specialist have concurred 82.2% of the time.
The pilot program will be used to assess the potential usefulness of a large-scale remote doctoring program, which could enable clinics across Egypt to seek the opinion of experts on a variety of medical conditions through video and photographs on the mobile network.
"From the beginning, Qualcomm has been committed to the success of this important pilot that demonstrates the use of 3G to support mhealth initiatives," said Moheb Ramsis, senior director of business development for Qualcomm North Africa. "By using Mobinil's state-of-the-art 3G HSPA network and smartphones enabled by Qualcomm's advanced chipsets, clinics are able to connect to specialists and provide more efficient care to those in need around the world. We are proud to be a part of this program and its esteemed participants in supporting mhealth."
One of the project's goals is to give patients living in remote or low-income areas access to specialists and expert diagnosis.
Medical staff at the clinics included in the pilot program have been given handsets with hi-resolution cameras and an application that enables them to send photographs and information about skin conditions to the appropriate specialist.
"This project is an example of how Mobinil's state-of-the-art network can improve the lives of Egyptians," said Hassan Kabbani, chief executive officer of Mobinil. "We will continue to work in this direction by cooperating with various parties in diverse fields to make Mobinil's network technology resources available to serve more than 30 million customers. Mobinil has drawn on the expertise and resources of all the project partners to develop the business model and technology underpinning the remote diagnostics service."