U Mobile wins Qualcomm grant for rural telemedicine services
By Digital News Asia March 7, 2022
- Partner DoctorOnCall to conduct live teleconsultation
- SIHAT programme to monitor, manage diabetes, hypertension
U Mobile has received a grant from the Qualcomm Wireless Reach initiative, which the company said aimed to bring advanced wireless technologies to people and communities who need it most.
In a statement, the telco said it will use the funds to provide remote healthcare services to Malaysians with the lowest 40% household income (B40 community)
According to Umobile, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading causes of death and morbidity among adults in Malaysia, with a total of 8.1% of Malaysian adults having all three risk factors for diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
Nearly 7.9 million individuals residing in rural areas in Malaysia have a low level of healthcare coverage and these rural settings often have a greater likelihood of undiagnosed NCDs cases, which could be attributed to inaccessible healthcare, it added.
Qualcomm Incorporated and U Mobile will collaborate with digital healthcare platform DoctorOnCall to implement telemedicine for diabetes and hypertension services, the telco said.
Together, the parties will introduce a 24-month healthcare programme called SIHAT or Sistem Integrasi KeHidupan Antara Teknologi, it said.
The SIHAT programme will monitor and manage diabetes and hypertension conditions of 100 participants in the target community using wirelessly connected medical devices like blood pressure monitors and glucometers, Umobile said.
Doctors will also conduct live video teleconsultations with their patients on DoctorOnCall's platform via Snapdragon-powered always connected PCs and tablets.
Additionally, low-cost mobile PCs and tablets powered by the Snapdragon platform with embedded cellular connectivity will empower patients and medical staff to communicate from virtually anywhere, the telco said.
They will leverage U Mobile's 4G network to facilitate the video consultation, ensuring a secure, stable, and positive patient experience, it said.
Jasmine Lee, chief digital officer of U Mobile said the company will be using the funds to help B40 Malaysians, particularly those who may be disabled or have mobility challenges manage their health conditions remotely and seamlessly.
“We are pleased to work with DoctorOnCall again for this initiative, a partner that we have conducted various 5G use cases in the past.
“We are delighted to unleash the unlimited potential of telemedicine by making technology and digital innovations meaningful, accessible and affordable for all," she said.
"U Mobile's SIHAT is aligned with the Wireless Reach initiative’s goal of leveraging advanced mobile broadband technologies to enable point-of-care devices to provide access to information, reduce costs, increase efficiencies, facilitate remote care in even the most resource-scarce settings, and better connect people to their health care providers,” said Ehsanul Islam, vice resident of engineering, Qualcomm Communication Technologies Ltd.
This initiative was launched in January 2022 and began with the recruitment process for SIHAT.
In addition to remote healthcare management, SIHAT will also gather insights on the benefits of telemedicine and provide recommendations on how the services may be implemented on a broader scale, Umobile said.
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