Healthcare Technology Featured Article

November 11, 2014

Qualcomm Helping to Establish China's mHealth Initiatives

According to the World Health Organization’s multinational Study on Global AGEing and Adult Health (SAGE), the aging, health and chronic conditions China is facing and will face in the future is going to be one of the biggest challenges it will confront as a nation. The SAGE report revealed the country’s proportion of people 60 and older will grow from more than 12 percent of its total population today, to 34 percent by 2050. With close to 1.4 billion people, the demographic of this age group will total more than 420 million, imposing unprecedented pressure on China’s economy. A new initiative between Qualcomm and the George Institute for Global Health has been established to support the development of mobile health (mHealth) innovations in China to start finding solutions before the problem gets out of control.

The Qualcomm Wireless Reach initiative, a strategic program that brings wireless technology to underserved communities around the world, is collaborating with the George Institute for Global Health, a not-for-profit medical and healthcare research organization dedicated to improving global health, with the creation of the China Center for mHealth Innovation (CCmHI).

This enterprise is part of the Chinese government’s Twelfth Five Year Plan (2011-2015), which has as one of its mandates, to improve the healthcare in the country.

China has a large adoption rate of mobile technology, and by delivering healthcare solutions using mobile devices, it will be able to provide services to hundreds of millions of people around the country cost effectively and with more efficiency. This technology is especially useful for chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as illnesses that can be monitored remotely using future technologies.

If properly implemented, this initiative will be able to capitalize on mobile Internet connectivity across China by deploying a digital health system for healthcare workers, electronic health records, point-of-care diagnostics and systems, which will allow authorities to monitor and manage community healthcare services. Custom applications can be created to give consumers the necessary tools for self-care using secure data transfer to a cloud-based server to catch diseases early before they harm the patient and become more expensive to treat.

The goal of the CCmHI is to establish a center for the innovation of mobile health that will provide the central and provincial governments of China with the necessary tools to improve community healthcare with the implementation and scalability of effective and affordable mHealth solutions.

According to CCmHI, its primary objectives are to:

  • Build Chinese capacity in digital healthcare development and evaluation, including providing opportunities for student internships and fellowships.
  • Develop and evaluate mHealth platforms designed to provide community healthcare workers with evidence-based, personalized guidance about the care of individual patients.
  • Target the 10 leading causes of premature death and disability in China.
  • Provide solutions that are effective in both urban and rural settings.
  • Assist with the integration of mHealth strategies into national and provincial policies and guidelines.
  • Support the development and expanded use of mHealth technologies globally.

“There is a pressing need for fresh approaches to community healthcare in China and globally, particularly in resource-poor areas. CCmHI will address this need by developing new mHealth strategies designed to improve care for individuals at high risk of stroke and other prevalent causes of premature death and disability,” said Stephen MacMahon, Principal Director of The George Institute for Global Health and Honorary Professor of Public Health at the Peking University Health Science Center. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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