It’s now possible to take care of your health using your mobile, through a technology called m-health that’s rapidly expanding! More than 13,000 health and wellbeing applications are already available on the various app stores.
Some are purely practical and can help you to find the nearest pharmacy, doctor or hospital, such as the 118712 application, or check the dosage required for a particular drug, such as the VIDAL Mobile application.
Others will become indispensable for the scatterbrains amongst you, by reminding you when to take your medicine, for example. In addition, and speaking of reminders, more and more hospitals and doctors’ surgeries are reminding us of our appointments via text message:
In short, for certain conditions, smartphones could prove to be an indispensable tool. An increasing number of medical sensors can be connected to our mobiles to transform them into a glucometer, for example, or a place to store our medical records. The IBG Star application allows diabetics to analyze their blood sugar rate, calculate the dose of insulin they need to take, and send all of this information to their doctor so that they can keep a close eye on the condition’s development and decide how best to manage it.
While m-health is still being developed in our country, it’s already in operation in Africa!
In these countries, where over 60% of people own a mobile phone, and where there are far more mobile phones than medical centers, this means of communication becomes a vital tool for spreading information and providing access to healthcare. Simple and clever services, available via inexpensive mobile phones, facilitate and improve access to healthcare for patients.
In Kenya, where counterfeiting accounts for up to 50% of the products sold, mPedigree provides patients and medical practitioners with the means to check the authenticity of their medication by sending a text message containing the code shown on the packaging.
In Côte d’Ivoire, an interactive SMS service allows people living in Abdijan, Bouaké, Yamoussoukro and other towns, to find their nearest on-duty pharmacy. All they have to do is call 712, follow the instructions given, and they will then receive the answer they need in a text message. The service also provides information on the insurance policies and cover accepted by the pharmacy.
In Madagascar, Orange customers can take advantage of being able to subscribe to insurance cover through their mobile phone. Via Orange Money, subscribers can pay their contributions from wherever they are, without needing to travel.
Using a camera phone, GPs, or even patients, can take a photo of a skin condition, an oral lesion, an X-ray, etc. in order for it to be diagnosed remotely by a specialist; this is known as telediagnosis.
In Egypt, for example, the “tele-dermatology” service receives photographs and descriptions of symptoms via the mobile network and uploads them to an online platform. Qualified dermatologists are then able to examine these cases, give a diagnosis, and suggest a treatment program.
“M-health”, or mobile health, is therefore already a reality for patients and healthcare professionals. It improves access to healthcare and optimizes the sharing of information, images, data, etc. In the short term, the deployment of “high-speed mobile broadband” should lead to an increase in mobile-based healthcare services.
Present in 160 countries around the world, Orange relies on its expertise in the healthcare sector, its capacity for innovation and the trust that the brand has built up with its customers and partners, to respond to public healthcare challenges, for which m-health can act as a pertinent solution. Want to find out more? Go to www.orange.com/sante.
 Source: 2011 report, Africa mobile telephony watchdog – GSMA http://www.gsma.com/publicpolicy/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/africamobileobservatoryfrenchexecutivesummary-1.pdf
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