According to Thierry Zylberberg, Executive Vice President and Head of Orange Healthcare Division at France Telecom, ‘mobile healthcare’ is ‘un mot valise’ – a ’suitcase word’ that combines multiple meanings. During his keynote at Informa’s second annual Mobile Healthcare Industry Summit last week, he confirmed Orange’s ongoing interest in developing new and varied services for the health sector, one example being its ‘Health Gateway’ – a secure web-based platform for SMS-based services such as appointment reminders.
The iPhone and its apps might still have some way to go to be formally acknowledged as a ‘medical device’ by the US FDA and the European Notified Bodies (NB), but the Apple device is quickly gaining favour amongst the younger generation of healthcare practitioners.
At Informa’s second Mobile Healthcare Industry Summit, held in London in September, telecoms.com sat down for half an hour with Thierry Zylberberg, executive vice president of the Health Line of Business at Orange and Michael Reilly, director of Orange Healthcare UK, to discuss the recent flurry of activity in the mobile health sector.
In February of this year Keith Nurcombe took the helm of Telefónica UK’s first foray into the field of medicine as head of O2 Health. He joined the telecoms industry after 18 years in the health sector, saying that he was attracted to the role by the idea of helping a mobile brand move into the health market and make health services a key operator offering.
The subject of health is never far from the headlines both in the emerging markets, where services and infrastructure can be dangerously scarce, and in developed nations where resources are increasingly overstretched. In many countries it is a sector for which the future does not hold much promise in terms of additional funding and resources—and for many people it is fast becoming evident that national health services cannot deliver all the care that’s needed.
US chip giant Intel said Tuesday it has entered into an agreement with General Electric to form a 50/50 joint venture healthcare company focused on electronic health and independent living. The new company will absorb GE Healthcare’s Home Health division and Intel’s Digital Health Group, and will be owned equally by GE and Intel. It is expected to become operational by the end of the year.
Elderly patients want to convalesce at home, while healthcare trusts need to cut the volume of hospital admissions. So says Mariah Scott, worldwide director of sales and marketing at Intel’s Digital Health Group.
Demonstrating the growing importance of the healthcare sector in the operator community, Spain-based Telefónica on Tuesday launched a global e-health unit tasked with the decentralisation of clinical processes and ubiquitous and remote access to these services.
Second placed Russian carrier VimpelCom has teamed up with machine to machine network specialist Jasper Wireless to bring what it claims is the first M2M platform to the Russian market.
Opportunities in the global mobile healthcare market are estimated to be worth between $50bn and $60bn in 2010, prompting operators to step up their initiatives in this emerging sector.
Mike Short, vice president of public affairs at Telefonica O2 Europe talks about the future of the mobile network operator.
M-health is set to take a considerable slice of the US medical device and pharma markets. Europe is eyeing the market, too. But to determine the adaptability of the concept in local context, Africa could well provide a good example.
Informa Telecoms & Media hosted the inaugural Mobile Healthcare Industry Summit in London in early December. It was a First World setting with predominantly First World protagonists and participants and a lot of First World technology on show. But it is the Third World – or emerging markets, to use a more current term – that might actually end up playing the leading role in mobile healthcare.