Qualcomm and Trice Imaging Announce Results of 3G “Mobile Ultrasound Patrol” Project to Improve Maternal Care in Morocco
Qualcomm Incorporated, through its Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ initiative, and Trice Imaging, a mobile medical imaging business, today announced the results of their collaborative, 3G “Mobile Ultrasound Patrol” project. Done in conjunction with Fujifilm SonoSite, an ultrasound systems provider and Sony Mobile, the Xperia smartphone division of Sony Corporation; this project used portable ultrasound units, 3G-enabled smartphones and phablets, remote diagnostic software and 3G connectivity to improve care for women in developing countries through early detection and treatment of major causes of maternal mortality.
Every day, around the world, approximately 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Ninety-nine percent of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries and the rate is higher among women living in rural areas, and in poorer communities.
In 2014, the Wireless Reach-funded project provided participating midwives, nurses and general practitioners in three Moroccan villages with portable ultrasound systems. Images were captured on SonoSite’s “M-turbo” portable ultrasound system and wirelessly transmitted via WiFi through a dongle to Sony Xperia smartphones with a pre-installed Trice Imaging DICOM encryption application and were then transmitted from the device via the 3G mobile network to the company’s cloud-based image management platform.
Specialists at hospital clinics in Casablanca and Fez, Morocco and Paris, France used mobile devices such as phablets to access the system, review the images and complete a report. Local health workers were able to use their devices to access the system and collaborate with the remote physicians. This system allowed for true collaboration; the physicians on both ends could review the images on a wireless device, collaborate, provide comments and pinpoint areas of interest on the images. The data was transmitted in its original form so no degradation of image quality occurred. The users could also choose to send anonymized data to include patient identifiers.
“The Mobile Ultrasound Patrol projectis just one example of how Qualcomm, through its Wireless Reach initiative, is using advanced wireless technology to improve maternal health in countries where maternal mortality is an issue,” said Shawn Covell, vice president of government affairs for Qualcomm.
The “Mobile Ultrasound Patrol” project took place at health houses, or small rural clinics, in the villages of Oulmes, Boulemane and Ribat el Kheir. The trial’s results demonstrate the potential of using mobile health (mHealth) solutions in maternal care:
- 575 exams were wirelessly transmitted to clinicians
- 94 exams exposed potential at-risk pregnancies
- 158 patients were flagged for a second opinion
- Use of advanced wireless technologies led to:
o Shortened diagnostic review or second opinion time from two weeks to less than a day
o Reduced ultrasound costs from US$80 to US$2 per patient
o Shortened the delivery of medical data for review from four days to two seconds
o Shortened the time the patient had to wait for a medical opinion from two weeks to less than 24 hours
o Increased local medical practitioners’ skills in delivering ultrasound images from 20 percent sufficient for diagnostic purposes to 92 percent sufficient for diagnostic purposes
o Participating physicians reported an increased number of patients seeking care at health houses after the trial. The number of deliveries in these facilities increased, which is an important step in reducing the number of dangerous at home births.
“We are very proud of the Mobile Ultrasound Patrol project,” said Asa Nordgren, CEO of Trice Imaging. “The results created in this collaboration are beyond what we could have dreamed. This project proves that new technology can provide high quality, affordable and timely health care services under really tough circumstances and to people who would not normally have access to quality care.”
Qualcomm understands that many advances in mobile technology have already changed access to health care and is working to enable even greater transformation in mHealth. By working on projects like the “Mobile Ultrasound Patrol,” Qualcomm is working to bring its capabilities to programs that demonstrate and expand the impact of mobile technology.
To find out more about the work Qualcomm and its program collaborators are doing, please visit www.qualcomm.com/wirelessreach.
FUJIFILM SonoSite is a world leader in bedside and point-of-care ultrasound, delivers solutions that meet imaging needs of the medical community.
Sony Mobile is one of the leading smartphones manufacturers.
Trice Imaging offers a patent-protected SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) that enables healthcare providers to securely store, convert, distribute and access DICOM medical images and reports anywhere, anytime on any device – in seconds. They also provided project implementation and reporting.
Qualcomm is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries. Wireless Reach is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated. Other product and brand names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.