Sep 9, 2011TOKYO
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Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), through its Wireless Reach™ initiative, and Medical Platform Asia (MedPA) have today announced the expansion of the [email protected] project, which will enable elderly Japanese patients in the depopulated region of Minami-Izu to manage their blood pressure at home using 3G wireless connectivity and equipment.
In remote regions of Japan, emergency and advanced health care services are lacking and gaining access to health care facilities can prove difficult due to reduced availability of health services caused by declining populations and the extreme remoteness of some rural areas. In such areas, the ability for people to manage their own health enables them to receive timely treatment and prevent serious illnesses.
The aging population is a significant issue for Japan’s health care system, and medical resources in the rural areas makes it difficult for patients to get care when and where they need it. Today, measures are being taken by both the Japanese and local governments to narrow the gap in availability of medical resources between urban areas and rural areas. At the same time, academia and the private sector have put multi-year, pilot projects underway that explore the ways information and communications technology (ICT) can be utilized for medical care. These efforts are gradually becoming more recognized as they demonstrate effectiveness and positive impact on patients overall health.
[email protected] aims to demonstrate how 3G wireless connectivity can improve access to health care in underserved communities. It also supports efforts by the government, local communities and medical institutes in investigating the effectiveness of ICT solutions for medical care in order to resolve health care issues in Japan.
The project’s first phase, launched in July of 2010, provided medical devices with integrated 3G wireless modules that allowed 300 patients to send critical health information, such as blood pressure, weight and distance walked, to doctors through a 3G wireless network. Doctors then reviewed the data and advised residents in order to improve their physical condition. Results showed a positive effect on increasing patients’ awareness of the importance of managing blood pressure and proactively engaging in treatment. Many members of the medical staff observed that the project facilitated increased communication and provided patients with a sense of security.
During this next phase, Wireless Reach and MedPA are working with Shizuoka Medical Alliance to provide an additional 200 patients at Kyoritsu Minato Hospital, located in Minami-Izu, with the wireless equipment needed for blood pressure management at home.
This new approach to home health management offers multiple benefits. For patients, the ability to easily measure and record blood pressure daily at home may prevent disease and detect masked hypertension at an early stage. Also, having wireless equipment allows real-time transmission of data to the hospital, removing the burden on elderly patients of writing down their blood pressure in books or having to manage the complexities of a computer. For hospitals, automating the process of capturing and sharing data will enable doctors to spend more time per patient. For Minami-Izu, where the population is rapidly shrinking and aging, the longer residents live in good health, the lower the costs to the community of providing medical services.
“As a result of this ongoing collaboration between Qualcomm, MedPA and other project partners, people are empowered to take better care of themselves,” said Jun Yamada, senior vice president of Qualcomm and president of Qualcomm Japan. “We are committed to applying 3G wireless technology to improve access to quality health care in underserved communities.”
“[email protected] is an exciting opportunity to explore how ICT and wireless technologies can enable a new model of regional medical care,” said Dr. Hiroaki Sugihara, chairman of the board of Shizuoka Medical Alliance and director of Kyoritsu Minato Hospital. “I deeply appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in this project to improve the health of underserved patients in our country.”
“MedPA is honored to have partners who share in our goal of improving the health of people in Asia,” said Masanori Nishiyama, M.D., chairman of the board of directors of MedPA. “This project will continue to demonstrate how increasing the utilization of wireless medical and wellness services can contribute to a healthier society.”
About Medical Platform Asia
Medical Platform Asia is a public corporation, funded by individual and corporate membership fees, which was established in December 2009 to promote human and material exchange between Japan and Asia in the medical field. Medical Platform Asia believes that the collaborative efforts of a large number of health care professionals in Asia, who stand on a single platform to promote the prevention and treatment of hypertension, diabetes, cancer and infectious diseases, would greatly contribute to achieving better health for the people in Asia. The 1st Asia Medical Forum was held in Tokyo in June 2010, with discussions taking place on the current state of health care and related issues in China, South Korea, Indonesia and Japan. For details, please visit the website: http://medpa.or.jp/
About Qualcomm and its Wireless Reach Initiative
Qualcomm believes access to 3G and next-generation mobile technologies can improve people’s lives. Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative is a strategic program that brings wireless technology to underserved communities globally. By working with partners, Wireless Reach invests in projects that foster entrepreneurship, aid in public safety, enhance the delivery of health care, enrich teaching and learning and improve environmental sustainability. For more information please visit www.qualcomm.com/wirelessreach.
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