Chances are you know someone who has suffered a heart attack or stroke – often, the first warnings of cardiovascular disease (CVD). But did you know that CVDs are the leading1 cause of death globally? And, that more than 80 percent2 of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries where people with CVDs have less access to effective health care services?3
In China, CVDs currently claim an estimated three million lives annually4 – a figure that’s expected to reach four million by 20205 and cost the country approximately USD 460 billion by 20156.
Qualcomm has taken a look at this issue through our Wireless Reach™ initiative, and we’re partnering with Life Care Networks and Community Health Association of China to explore how smartphones and 3G wireless connectivity can assist in the prevention and care of CVDs in community health clinics in China.
The Wireless Heart Health project is providing four, resource-scarce, rural health clinics with 3G-enabled systems that allow remote screening and monitoring of cardiovascular diseases. Each system includes smartphones with built-in electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors; web-based, electronic medical record software that maintains patient information and historical records of patient cardiovascular monitoring data; and 3G wireless workstations. The workstations are equipped with computer terminals and Internet access, providing health care workers instant access to the electronic patient records including ECG test results.
If you’re the patient, you simply hold a smartphone while the ECG sensor goes to work. Your heart data is collected and immediately sent to a 24-hour call center staffed by cardiac specialists in Beijing. A doctor reviews your heart data and medical records then sends you rapid feedback via text or a phone call. Or, the doctor might refer you to a specialty hospital for further testing or treatment.
What if your symptoms don’t present while you’re at the clinic? You can take one of the new smartphones home, allowing your heart data to be monitored whenever and wherever symptoms arise and allowing health workers to better detect problems before they become serious.
The Wireless Heart Health project reflects Qualcomm’s belief that access to wireless technology can improve people’s lives. It effectively demonstrates how mobile broadband can extend the reach of physicians into disadvantaged areas and enable health workers to treat more patients, more effectively.
To learn more about this project and our Wireless Reach initiative, please click here.