Ericsson and Apollo Hospitals to introduce mobile health services in rural India

Stockholm 05 June 2008Ericsson and Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation (ATNF), a part of the Apollo Hospitals Group, an Indian health care company, are teaming to help bridge the digital divide in rural India by laying the foundation for the introduction of mobile health services. Telemedicine delivered using HSPA technology will enable the provision of affordable and accessible health care to millions of people in remote areas.

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More than a million people, predominantly women and children, die each year in India because of a lack of health care. A further 700 million people have no access to specialist health care, as 80 percent of specialists live in cities. At the same time, the teledensity of India is increasing at a phenomenal rate. Telemedicine harnesses telecommunication technology to deliver health care and education to patients in remote regions. It enables easier access to health care for rural populations, helping to provide critical health information, save time and money, and reduce the need for travel.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Ericsson and ATNF will enable them to work together to educate people and to publicize, promote and implement the use of telemedicine deployed as an application over broadband-enabled mobile networks.

ATNF will provide expertise in telemedicine, in the form of applications that provide instant medical advice remotely over the network. This will increase access to quality health care once the HSPA network is in place, and sets the stage for the creation of a stable ecosystem, based on WCDMA/HSPA technology, to support a range of innovative services.

The initiative builds on Ericsson and Apollo's previous collaboration in 2007 for the Gramjyoti project which showcased the benefits of mobile broadband applications across 18 villages and 15 towns in rural areas.

Mats Granryd, President of Ericsson India, stated: "Mobility has proven to be a major catalyst for social and economic empowerment, and a key ingredient in helping to bridge the digital divide. Through our ongoing partnership with Apollo, we are putting an ecosystem in place to support telemedicine applications once the 3G network is deployed."

Prathap C. Reddy, Chairman of Apollo Hospitals Group, stated: "With the availability of wireless technology, mobile health will be integrated into the health care delivery system. The new mantra could well be 'Health care for anyone, anywhere, anytime'. In our silver jubilee year, Apollo Hospitals dedicates itself, to make mobile health a reality for everyone in India."

This agreement is part of Ericsson's support for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which aim to halve extreme poverty and hunger by 2015, while improving education, health and gender equality. Ericsson has been working on several initiatives to demonstrate the use of telecoms in health care provision.

With over 8000 beds in more than 41 hospitals, a string of nursing and hospital management colleges and dual lifelines of pharmacies and diagnostic clinics providing a safety net across Asia, Apollo Hospitals is a health care powerhouse one can trust with one's life. Apollo unites exceptional clinical success rates and superior technology with centuries-old traditions of Eastern care and warmth, reflecting its true belief of the world being its extended family - something that its 14 million patients from 55 countries can warmly affirm.

With over 100 centres in India and overseas, and over 40.000 teleconsultations, Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation justifies being the largest and oldest multi-speciality network in South Asia. Aragonda Apollo Hospitals has the distinction of being the first VSAT enabled village hospital in the world, to offer telemedicine services. More news about Apollo Hospitals can be found in the VMW August 2005 article Philips ties up with ISRO, Apollo Hospital and DHAN to provide affordable rural health care.

In September 2007, Ericsson undertook a three-month project in India, called Gramjyoti meaning "Light of the Village". The project showcased the benefits of mobile broadband for rural India. GSM is the wireless technology used by more than 80 percent of global mobile subscriptions and covering 60 percent of India's population. The next generation of mobile technology, called WCDMA/HSPA, was used in the project to demonstrate the benefit of mobile broadband to local stakeholders.

Thousands of people within the Gramjyoti project area covering 18 villages and 15 towns were able to use broadband applications. Ericsson worked in partnership with Apollo Hospitals, Hand in Hand as a a local NGO, Edurite, One97, CNN and Cartoon Network to deliver a range of services including telemedicine, e-education, e-governance, voice and video call services and live TV and entertainment. More information about the project is available at the Gramjyoti website.

Ericsson is a global provider of technology and services to telecom operators. The market leader in 2G and 3G mobile technologies, Ericsson supplies communications services and manages networks that serve more than 195 million subscribers. The company's portfolio comprises mobile and fixed network infrastructure and broadband and multimedia solutions for operators, enterprises and developers. The Sony Ericsson joint venture provides consumers with feature-rich personal mobile devices.

Ericsson is advancing its vision of "communication for all" through innovation, technology, and sustainable business solutions. Working in 175 countries, more than 70.000 employees generated revenue of USD 27,9 billion in 2007. Founded in 1876 and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on the Stockholm and NASDAQ stock exchanges. More company news can be found in the VMW October 2006 article Ericsson to supply mobile health solution to Changi General and Gleneagles hospitals in Singapore.


Leslie Versweyveld

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