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Mobile Devices Bring Dermatology Specialist to Low-Income Patients in Egypt

Recently, on behalf of Wireless Reach, I had the opportunity to announce the results of our first project in the Middle East – the Egypt Teledermatology Pilot Project – which serves as an example of how mobile devices can provide a viable medical solution for Egypt’s health care system.

We worked with Mobinil, Egypt’s leading mobile operator; Click Diagnostics, Inc.; the Egyptian Ministry of Health; and the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology; to implement a project that demonstrated the use of Qualcomm technology by connecting low-income residents with physicians for virtual diagnosis .

As part of a larger roundtable discussion about trends in the mobile industry including mHealth, I had the opportunity to discuss the alarming rate of skin cancers estimated by the World Health Organization (between 2 and 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally) and how we plan on helping to diagnose these and other skin conditions earlier and more accurately.

Using 3G mobile devices with high-resolution cameras, physicians at hospitals in low-income areas of Cairo uploaded photographs of patient skin conditions and symptoms in text format to a secure web portal via Mobinil’s 3G HSPA mobile broadband network. Specialists would then log on to the site to review new cases and reply with a diagnosis, which was downloaded by the on-site doctor using the mobile phone.

Diagnosis was completed quicker and with more confidence when the on-site physicians used the 3G mobile devices to compare their assessment with that of the remote specialists. Medical studies have shown that dermatologists can diagnose many skin ailments by examining photographs and improve the accuracy of diagnosis by collecting patient information, such as that collected by the ClickDoc application on the mobile phones for this pilot. More than 87 percent of the 226 cases diagnosed by the on-site doctors had complete or partial agreement, when diagnosed by the consulting dermatologist.

The potential of a large-scale program, with a wide range of conditions being examined by remote experts, will be assessed based on results from this pilot. The number of ways wireless connectivity can improve the lives of people around the world fascinates me, and I am looking forward to seeing more results from this project as time goes on.

If you would like to view more information on this specific project, you can view a short video here and the press release here. Also, I suggest reading about some of the other ways Wireless Reach is connecting people at www.qualcomm.com/wirelessreach.

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