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Building a New Model of Regional Medical Care

Tomio Hasegawa needs advanced health services to keep his blood pressure under control. The fact that he lives in a remote region of Japan where access to these services is lacking doesn’t prevent him from getting the daily care he needs. That’s because Tomio uses 3G wireless technology to measure his blood pressure at home, send the data in real time to doctors and nurses located hundreds of miles away and get their timely feedback.

Tomio is one of 500 elderly, rural-dwelling Japanese residents participating in the Wireless_Health_Care@Home project, a collaboration between Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach™ initiative and Medical Platform Asia (MedPA). The project leverages Japan’s mobile broadband system, one of the world’s best, to demonstrate how 3G technology can improve medical access in underserved communities. Being able to manage one’s own health in the absence of medical specialists enables timely treatment and helps prevent illnesses from becoming serious.

Launched in July 2010 and now in its second phase, Wireless_Health_Care@Home provides medical devices such as blood pressure monitors, scales and pedometers with integrated 3G wireless modules to people who are in similar situations as Tomio.

The 3G-enabled devices automatically record blood pressure, weight, distance walked and other data. Users push one simple button to send the data through a 3G wireless network to doctors and nurses, who are able to review the data and advise patients on how to adjust their activities to improve their physical condition. The devices also make it easy for patients to contact medical staff with quick health care related questions.

Early results indicate that the senior citizens have embraced the technology and are successfully using their 3G equipment. Their awareness of the importance of blood pressure management has increased, and more of them are proactively engaging in treatment. In some cases, doctors changed prescriptions after examining blood pressure that was measured at home. In other cases, participants were diagnosed with hypertension for the first time after measuring their blood pressure at home.

This new approach to home health information management is a win-win situation for everyone involved. For patients, the ability to easily measure and record their blood pressure on a daily basis may prevent disease and detect masked hypertension at an early stage. For hospitals, automating the process of capturing and sharing data will enable caregivers to spend more time per patient and free up time to see additional patients. For communities, the longer its residents live in good health, the lower the costs of providing medical services.

To learn more about this project and our Wireless Reach initiative click here.

Link to Phase 2 Press Release: http://www.qualcomm.com/news/releases/2011/09/09/qualcomm-and-medical-platform-asia-expand-3g-technology-project-enabling-el

Link to Phase 1 Press Release:

http://www.qualcomm.com/news/releases/2010/07/21/qualcomm-announces-project-enable-3g-health-care-access-rural-japanese-comm

Link to Case Study:

http://www.qualcomm.com/documents/wireless-reach-japan-case-study

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