Mobile phones are good for your health – the benefits of m-healthcare services

This is my last in a series of 3 blog posts about our recent conference on the mobile revolution held at La Cantine in Paris. Over the evening we looked at how the mobile has changed society as a whole, including way we pay and access social networks. The ability to communicate and connect to the web on the move has brought great changes to people but nowhere more so than in developing economies. In countries like Kenya, Peru, rural India and more there used to be a complete lack of communications and IT infrastructure while those able to purchase a landline often had to wait year’s for the state provider to install it.

As with her fascinating account of the deployment of m-payment services, Laurence Allard, Sociologist and our speaker for the evening showed how the mobile has improved healthcare in many poorer countries.

In South Africa an SMS-based campaign around HIV prevention, known as Masiluleke, trippled the number of calls to the health advice centers helping to raise awareness in a country with 5 million sufferers. At the crossroads of mobile banking and health is a service running in Nairobi, Kenya called “Mamabika” whereby pregnant women can save money by SMS over 9 months which is then used to pay to give birth in a local clinic.  Mamabika won a prize as part of the Apps4Africa 2010 Challenge which is supported by the U.S. Department of State.  Meanwhile in France, a hospital in Marseille sends SMS reminders to people with heart disease to remind them to take their medication following operations.

Xavier Larduinat, our MC was asked to expand on the potential for mobile healthcare in developed economies. He felt that the better technology infrastructure (in particular mobile data) and an ageing populations meant that remote monitoring and automated outpatient solutions would be the largest growth areas. This would mean that someone with a heart condition could wear a discrete device connected to a health system using machine to machine communications which alerts a doctor in the case of irregular activity.

Thanks again to Laurence Allard and our moderator Christophe Romei of ServiceMobiles.fr for the insightful contributions to a this interactive conference. All of the presentations and the video of the evening (in French only) are now online.

Following last year’s event on Digital Identity, this conference was around the mobile, what would you like us to see covered next time? Where should we host our conferences? Paris, London, Sao Paulo, Mumbai???

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