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du sets to work on improving UAE health services

Company launches two new SMS health services, announces initiatives to provide remote care

Farid Faraidooni, chief commercial officer, du announced several new health initiatives by du in collaboration with Ericsson and US-based company Mobile Doctor 24-7 International.
Farid Faraidooni, chief commercial officer, du announced several new health initiatives by du in collaboration with Ericsson and US-based company Mobile Doctor 24-7 International.

du, in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Health, US-based company Mobile Doctors 24-7 International and Ericsson, are working on launching a comprehensive mobile health service in the UAE, to be called Smart Health.

This health service is comprised of three distinct classes; the first class being SMS-based health services. When a du subscriber joins any one of these services, they will receive one or two SMSs per day giving tips on their chosen service.

"The strategic objective behind these services is we want to make health information available at the fingertips of our customers at any time in any place. We have already launched some of these SMS services in April and two [more] we are launching today," said Farid Faraidooni, du chief commercial officer.

du announced the QuitSmoke service in April, users can subscribe to it via SMS and will get one or two SMSs daily to encourage them on how to stay away from smoking and eventually quit.

du also launched another SMS-based service called LoseWeight, this works in a similar way; users receive SMSs to advise them on topics such as healthy eating and weight loss.

 "We have also launched LiveWell, also the same class of services based on SMS. Today as part of Women's Health Week we are announcing two new text-based services related to women, one is Pregnancy Tips and one is Her Health, both are dedicated to women. We will be launching many more of these types of services in the future under this class of health texts," said Faraidooni.

The second class of health services being launched by du is called Health Call, which involves health services being provided via a call centre being established in the UAE in association with Mobile Doctor 24-7 International.

"We are equipping a call centre, which will be attended by certified physicians who will answer calls from our customers or subscribers to this service and guide them through the issues they are calling about. It will be their first line of defence before going to emergency or paying a visit to their doctor, they can call this service and get medical support and as well, this service can arrange if need be, a visit to the hospital, a visit to the clinic," said Faraidooni.

This service is based on a service developed in a US hospital in collaboration with John Hopkins in the US and du is bringing these concepts to the UAE.

du says it should have the call centre up-and running by Q4 2011 and is currently building the call centre and recruiting staff. The programme will enter a pilot phase in Q3 2011.

The third class of healthcare which du is debuting is remote or home-based health care services.

The service will link devices such as blood pressure monitors or blood sugar level testing devices, which patients have at home, to a hub device provided by du. The patient will then be able to upload the data to the hub via Bluetooth, so that the data can be sent to the hospital where healthcare providers can monitor it.

"This is where we can play a bigger role with our technology, we have state-of-the-art infrastructure in terms of data networks, there are medical devices that are available that can connect to our network and transmit medical info from one place to another, from the patients to the healthcare provider," said Faraidooni.

"We will be doing a pilot in the third quarter of this year and are in advanced talks with one of the large hospitals in the UAE, we will be running a pilot with a number of patients,  with collaboration from Ericsson who will be providing these devices. We will run this pilot for three months, take the feedback and then do a nationwide launch in the Q3 of this year," said Faraidooni.