Etisalat, the leading mobile operator in the United Arab Emirates has launched a service that allows expectant parents to share ultrasound scans of their baby with family and friends, providing an example of how medical images can form the basis for a commercial service. The solution underpinning the Mobile Baby service is supplied by Swedish vendor Great Connection. The service can also be used by specialists and doctors to analyse a scan even when are they away from their offices. Mobily, another operator in the Etisalat group, launched the same service in Saudi Arabia at the start of this year.
The service allows healthcare providers to send ultrasound images, video and 3D scans directly from an ultrasound device to a mobile handset. In a sign of the possibilities created by such a service, Etisalat suggests that expatriates living in the UAE who intend to give birth in their home country could use the new service to keep medical staff in that country up to date with the progress of their pregnancy ahead of going home.
The service raises significant privacy issues. Great Connection’s website attempts to address one such issue when it says sensitive data that could identify an individual image are removed automatically by its system. The image is locked and encrypted before being authenticated by the receiver who has the key to unlock it, says the website.