Qualcomm has reported the first results from a 3G-based health service it launched with partners in the autumn of 2011. The Mobile Vision Project enables doctors in rural communities in China to collect and share data from the screening and treatment of children with amblyopia, an eye disorder. The project, which began in October 2011, is now regularly used by 50 township-level clinics with 71 further clinics set to adopt it in coming months. Of the 1,144 eye examinations to date, 684 resulted in a diagnosis of amblyopia, also known as lazy eye.
Qualcomm’s partners are local app developer Xi’an Kingtone Information as well as China Children and Teenagers’ Fund, a charity. The US vendor is working through its Wireless Reach initiative. Mobile broadband is supplied by China Telecom’s 3G EV-DO network.
Chinese clinicians in rural areas often lack expertise in diagnosing and treating amblyopia. In addition, the expense of travelling to cities prevents children from remote communities receiving treatment. And even in urban communities there can be shortcomings in treatment.
The Qualcomm-backed project is being implemented at Hengshui City Maternal and Child Care Service Center (MCCSC) and other public health centres in Hebei province. The app developed by Xi’an Kingtone Information enables data collection and analysis as well as aiding patient screening and diagnosis. Clinicians also enjoy access to an online database for eyecare. There are approximately 400,000 children and teenagers in the catchment area for the Qualcomm-backed service. Eyecare professionals in rural towns and villages in the scheme are equipped with smartphones, laptops, PCs and 3G connectivity.