Pilot programme uses 3G for remote diagnosis of patients in Egypt

Adel Ellakany , Thursday 21 Apr 2011

Qualcomm, Mobinil and Egyptian ministries announce pilot programme using 3G mobile broadband to remotely diagnose dermatological problems in patients in Egypt

Qualcomm, through its Wireless Reach(TM) initiative, The Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (Mobinil) and Click Diagnostics, along with the Egyptian ministry of health and ministry of communications and information technology today announced today they have launched a pilot programme to test the technology framework that enables dermatologists to use Mobinil’s 3G mobile network to diagnose skin conditions remotely.

Located in Cairo, the programme sites allow physicians to take photographs of patients’ skin conditions and capture symptoms in text format using a 3G-enabled wireless device. This information is then sent through Mobinil’s 3G mobile broadband network to swiftly obtain diagnosis from specialists working elsewhere. During this pilot phase, both an onsite physician and a remote specialist diagnose skin conditions and the results are then compared to confirm the prognosis. To date, diagnosis comparisons completed during the pilot have demonstrated full agreement in 82.2 per cent of cases examined.

The pilot phase provides valuable information that will be used to assess the potential success of a large-scale programme, enabling clinics across Egypt to seek the opinion of remote experts on a wide range of conditions through the use of photographs and videos via a mobile broadband network. The partners in this project believe that 3G mobile broadband has the ability to dramatically improve the speed, efficiency and quality of health care, especially in developing countries where medical resources may be limited. The project’s goal is to provide patients living in low-income areas access to specialists and diagnosis that previously was not available to them.

The medical staff at the clinics has been equipped with handsets with high-resolution cameras and an application that enables them to send photographs and contextual information about skin conditions to the appropriate specialist.

Beyond the goal of providing patients living in low-income areas access to specialists and diagnosis that previously was not available to them, this project is a true example of how mobile technology can increase communication between junior and senior doctors and aid in the training and continuing education of all doctors in Egypt, and, eventually, internationally.

“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.”

“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 programme and its esteemed participants in supporting health.”

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