Tuesday, May 29, 2012

3G Wireless Initiatives

The Philippines Department of Health, Tarlac Provincial Health Office, and Qualcomm Incorporated through its Wireless Reach™ initiative, has expanded their “Wireless Access for Health” (WAH) project that uses 3G wireless technology to improve healthcare. Local Tarlac government officials are going to support the replication of the project across the entire province by the end of 2012.

The WAH builds upon the existing community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS) developed by the University of the Philippines, Manila. Since 2009, WAH partners have established CHITS as their own EMR platform and increased the use of the system from just four rural health units to 21 health clinics in the Tarlac Province and serving more than 1,500 patients a day.

As of April 2012, more than 109,000 patient consultations have been captured by the system. The Tarlac Provincial government has replicated the project in all 38 health provincial clinics which makes Tarlac the first and only province in the Philippines to have all of their health clinics interconnected and running on a health information system.

The expansion of the WAH project also includes doing province-wide pilot testing for the “Mobile Midwife” and “Synchronized Patient Alert via SMS” (SPASMS) applications. “Mobile Midwife” enables data to be captured electronically during patient visits via smart phones, tablets, or laptops, and instantly sends patient data to the CHITS systems. To date, 26 midwives are participating in the program and 1,100 SPASMS have been sent to 250 patients.

In another advancement, Medical Tactile Inc (MTI) with the support of the Pre-Mammogram Foundation, and Qualcomm Incorporated have collaborated to develop a pre-commercial Sure Touch™ Wireless system using 3G enabled tactile sensor technology for breast cancer screening.

The system can detect masses as small as 0.5cm by using tactile sensor technology also known as stress elastography to measure the reactive pressures generated by cancerous tissue, which can be more than 100 times harder than normal tissue.

The system is a small, easy-to-use device consisting of a 3G enabled sensor, touch screen display, and the Sure Touch network. After the images of the tissue are collected by the clinician, a Bluetooth wireless module provides two way communications between the sensor and display so that the clinician can collect the data.

When the clinician is finished performing the exam, the data is automatically uploaded to the network. Centralized servers on the network receive and process the data so that the clinician can access the information using a web browser.

The Sure Touch system has been cleared by FDA for documenting the Clinical Breast Exam in the U.S and is already being used in China, India, Turkey, and sixteen other countries as a screening tool for breast cancer.