Telemedicine through mobile: Vodafone’s 3G network serving people health care in country’s most remote areas
Vodafone Albania and its Foundation, in a strategic partnership with Ministry of Health announced today the kick off of the ‘Telemedicine through mobile’ initiative - an innovative, simple, quick, sustainable response to the primary health care in the country’s most remote areas throughout the use of Vodafone’s fast 3G technology. This project shall be delivered through the professional expertise of Albanian Red Cross and Hygeia Hospital.
This is the first telemedicine through mobile in Albania which represents an unlimited time service system which enables carrying out a number of health parameters’ tests related to preventing health issues, which by statistics are responsible for a high number of fatalities, including tests for hypertension & cardiovascular indicators, respiratory diseases and diabetes. It makes a difference because it serves to the population of a minimum of 400 villages located in the most remote areas, known as quite poor areas. The long list of villages include regions of Malesia e Madhe, Tropoja, Kukes, Shkoder, Puka, Diber, Mirdite, Mat, Librazhd, Gramsh, Pogradec, Korce, Vlore, Berat, Permet, Gjirokaster and many others.
Such innovative and technology oriented project allows the patient’s data collected by the tests performed by the team of the Albanian Red Cross at the spot, fed into a smartphone and transferred in a real time by using the Vodafone fast 3G network operation directly to the Hospital Hygeia in Tirana where a specialized doctor will provide the physician’s opinion to the patient and to the family doctor in the area within 24 hours.
Through a close monitoring of the project implementation and relevant impacts evaluation, the team of experts from Ministry of Health contribution is expected to review and improve step by step the project development. ‘We are proud and grateful to partner with a responsible business such Vodafone, which created this unique initiative in benefit of the people’s health’ – stated the Minister of Health, Mr. Petrit Vasili during the press conference.
Telemedicine had its kick off in the Balkans through the European Periphery Program and Dr. Lars Engvall who hosted one of the first Telemedicine workshops in the remote Greek island of Leros, in November 2000. Panel members who provided technological updates included Hellenic Telecom responsible for ISDN development Mrs. Vassiliki Danelli, Ericsson Director of Customer Solutions and Technology Mr. Antonis Hontzeas, Swedish Telehealthcare researcher Dr. Stefan Cajander, as well as Leros hospital officials and political figures including the Mayor of Leros.
The program included 3G capabilities for telemedicine applications, pending hospital and Greek healthcare issues, as well as a live connection from Leros to Sweden demoing possible ISDN six slot healthcare applications.