Vodafone Netherlands starts 3G pilots within the MobiHealth project framework

Amsterdam 02 September 2003Vodafone Netherlands has started pilots to test 3G services. At the Technical University Twente in the city of Enschede, Vodafone is running a 3G test, which can change the medical care services in a revolutionary way. The project called MobiHealth is funded by the European Commission. Vodafone claims to be the first operator in The Netherlands to open up its UMTS network to a number of business partners to test new services.

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Vodafone is the first mobile operator in the Netherlands to start testing third generation (3G) services. Through its UMTS network, Vodafone now offers Twente University of Technology the opportunity to test a 3G service that could change medical assistance in a revolutionary way. The UMTS network of Vodafone currently covers Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and the connecting roads in the Randstad. Outside of the Randstad, Vodafone has UMTS coverage in Maastricht, Enschede and Eindhoven.

Because Vodafone's UMTS network is equipped to send much larger volumes of mobile data than is currently possible, paramedics and ambulance crews at the scene of serious accidents will now be able to send data such as cardiograms directly to the medical teams back at the hospital. This enables doctors to assess the situation remotely so that treatment can start immediately on the patient's arrival at the hospital.

MobiHealth Body Area Networks (BANs) will be used in trauma care both for patients and for ambulance paramedics. The trauma patient BAN will measure vital signs which will be transmitted from the scene to the members of the trauma team located at the hospital. The paramedics wear trauma team BANs which incorporate a video camera, an audio system and a wireless communications link to the hospital.

No valuable time need be wasted collecting the necessary data all over again, thus gaining lifesaving minutes. Moreover, there is no need anymore for a doctor to be sent to the scene by trauma helicopter to evaluate the situation. This project, which Twente University of Technology is carrying out jointly with Vodafone under the name MobiHealth, is being co-financed by the European Commission.

The purpose of this trial is to evaluate whether use of 2,5 and 3G communications can improve quality of care and decrease lag-time between the accident and the intervention. When using telemetry technology, time can be saved and thus treatment and chances for patient recovery improved. Faster intervention is expected to increase survival rates and decrease morbidity. Parameters to be measured are breathing frequency, oxygen saturation, pulse rate, blood pressure, pupil size and reactions, amount of fluids infused. Video from the scene will be transmitted assuming UMTS availability.

Vodafone is the first mobile operator in the Netherlands to open its UMTS network to a selected number of business customers for the purpose of testing new services. In the near future, more and more parts of The Netherlands will be added to the coverage area. With these new innovative developments, Vodafone reconfirms its leading position in the mobile market.

More news on the MobiHealth project can be found in this VMW issue's articles MobiHealth Body Area Networks new promise to meet mobile health care challenges and EC project MobiHealth launches field trial phase in four European countries.


Leslie Versweyveld

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