Turkcell looks to private hospitals for take-up of its health gateway - Mobile World Live

Turkcell looks to private hospitals for take-up of its health gateway

21 MAY 2012

Turkcell is in talks with the country’s private hospitals about buying its newly launched SIM-embedded health gateway which the operator launched at the end of April, it told Mobile Health Live. The device enables healthcarre providers to monitor their patients when they are in their own homes. It picks up data readings from patients' Bluetooth-enabled medical devices and then uploads the data over Turkcell’s cellular network to the healthcare provider.

Despite its interest in the private sector, the bigger goal for Turkcell is seeking government backing for the M2M-based service. Currently this type of remote monitoring is not subsidised by the Turkish government so patients have to pay for it themselves which restricts adoption.

There are approximately 400-500 private hospitals in the country but that represents a limited market compared to the public sector. Convincing the government to pay for remote monitoring is important to future prospects for Turkcell’s service.

Asked about the chances of government support, Ethem Eldem, the operator’s head of product and partner management, said: “What I can say is that a very large proportion of health services are paid for by the government and they have a policy in place. They want to fight chronic disease management and save on expenses and the service is one of the things they can use in the future so we should have a pretty good chance to support our government in that.” He wouldn’t be drawn further on how likely Turkcell is to persuade the government to subsidise remote monitoring.

The operator hopes a new project launched with Istanbul University will generate the statistics to impress the government.  The six to nine month trial, which also started at the end of April, is monitoring 500 patients using Turkcell’s device.  

Turkcell designed the gateway itself and had it manufactured domestically. The device can link with a number of different types of medical devices including glucometers, blood pressure monitors and ECG viewers.

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Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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