Doro, a Swedish company that offers easy-to-use handsets to older users, predicts a growing market for its products in the aging population of western countries, in an interview with Mobile Health Live. For instance the UK currently has 11 million people who are over 65 years in age, a figure that is predicted to exceed 20 million within ten years.
The company is expanding from handsets into services targeted at older users. It is set to sell its first handset which includes the alarm service it acquired when it bought Birdy Technology last year. Doro has integrated Birdy’s technology via a button on the back of the new handset, which is called the 680. The handset will go on sale “within months” the company says. Birdy’s technology is a fixed GSM gateway in the home that links the user to a call centre via a press of the button on the 680. The call centre can contact the user's friends and family as well as medical services. Doro will sell the product to local government and private health providers. The company's current range of handsets include the PhoneEasy 605 (pictured).
“Priority areas we would identify are not the chronically ill,” says Michael Reilly, Doro’s mhealth director. “We are actually interested in ‘information seekers’, those over 65 who are healthy but wish to have a set-up with GP and relatives to monitor conditions and know more about their conditions”.
In the UK, 1.7 million people use some kind of remote telecare service like Birdy. And the UK government recently launched its Three Million Lives campaign that aims to significantly grow the numbers who benefit from remote monitoring in the home. ”The macro political climate is aligned,” says Reilly. Doro is looking to “solve a problem which is the cost of readmission to public health services”, he says. This is a potential market that goes wider than disease management to include social inclusion, says Reilly.