Press Release

3G Wireless Technology Provides Clinical Information to Public Health Care Workers Through Mobile Health Information System Project

Provides Easy to Access Clinical Resources at Point of Care for Nurses in South Africa

Nov 10, 2010CAPE TOWN, South Africa

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Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), through its Wireless ReachTM initiative, today announced the Mobile Health Information System (MHIS) project. 3G wireless technology and an Internet-capable mobile device, pre-loaded with a clinical library, are providing nurses in hospital settings with access to medical resources.


Striving to enhance the quality of patient care delivery in South Africa, the AED-SATELLIFE Center for Health Information and Technology, supported by grants from Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative and the Henry E. Niles and John M. Lloyd Foundations, designed, planned and implemented the MHIS project. The project is a collaborative effort by participating organizations, including the Eastern Cape Department of Health, the Port Elizabeth Hospital Complex, MTN-South Africa, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and the project funders.

The MHIS project was designed to improve the ability of health care workers in urban and rural settings to care for their patients by providing them with locally relevant, reliable and accurate clinical information accessible using a commercially available mobile device. Each device provides access to a pre-loaded library of clinical and educational resources developed by AED-SATELLIFE as well as dynamic Internet content accessed through wireless broadband connectivity provided by MTN-South Africa.

The project provides training sessions which teach nurses how to use their smartphones to access information and share it with their colleagues. A comprehensive evaluation of the system, carried out by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, showed that enabling nurses to access health resources wirelessly significantly improved their ability to provide care for their patients.

In South Africa, only 10.8 percent of the population has Internet access and only 0.09 percent has broadband Internet access. As a result, many public health workers do not have access to important health information and tools. The MHIS project allows nurses, through the use of 3G wireless technology, to share information within their health community when rare and complex cases are encountered, to keep abreast of the latest information on epidemics and to look up information they cannot otherwise access while in the field. Due to limited availability of skilled health professionals, the duty of providing health care to the poorest populations falls on nurses. Enhancing their access to relevant and accurate clinical information is vital to improving health service delivery.

“The Mobile Health Information System project is made possible because of the collaboration and dedication of all project participants,” said Elizabeth Migwalla, senior director of government affairs for Qualcomm. “Qualcomm believes wireless broadband can play a key role in delivering critical clinical data to public health care workers – not just in South Africa, but throughout the world.”

“AED-SATELLIFE built on its on-the-ground knowledge, experience and expertise in mobile technologies in the conceptualization of MHIS,” said Leela McCullough, director of information services for AED-SATELLIFE. “As the lead implementing agency, we were pleased to work with committed partners to demonstrate the power and potential of the use of mobile devices. Putting relevant clinical information into nurses’ hands at the point of care can improve their daily nursing practice and deliver better patient care.”

“The Nursing Science Department at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University was responsible for conducting a Needs Analysis prior to the implementation of the MHIS project in the Eastern Cape Province, as well as post-implementation research related to the evaluation of the project,” said Dr. Esmeralda Ricks, senior lecturer in the nursing sciences department at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. “The smartphone was found to be extremely useful because nurses could access information and share it with their colleagues and patients, especially those nurses who work at clinics in remote areas and need access to information to function optimally.”

“Let us embrace technology, be innovative, apply our minds and grab every opportunity to find more cost effective and efficient ways to render health care services to the people of South Africa,” said Dr. S. Pillay, superintendent general, Eastern Cape Department of Health. “Eastern Cape Health salutes all partners in this project for their contribution in making this happen.”

About Qualcomm and its Wireless Reach Initiative
Qualcomm believes access to advanced wireless voice and data services improves people's lives. Qualcomm's Wireless Reach initiative supports programs and solutions that bring the benefits of connectivity to underserved communities globally. By working with partners, Wireless Reach projects create new ways for people to communicate, learn, access health care, sustain the environment and reach global markets. For more information, please visit

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