Live from the mHealth Summit, Washington DC: John Stratton (pictured), chief operating officer of Verizon Wireless, gave greater detail in his keynote on the kind of services the mobile operator will offer in the mobile health market, and how they can be delivered over its high-speed LTE network.  It follows yesterday’s announcement by the operator that it is developing a range of digital healthcare solutions. Stratton divided the operator’s mhealth services into four categories: mobile clinician; digital care management, virtual care; independent living. All will be delivered over the LTE network. Verizon has studied existing telemedicine deployments which overwhelmingly use low-speed fixed networks. Instead Stratton said the operator could “add important capability in mobility, high bandwidth and cloud-based solutions”.

The operator can manage all aspects of patient care including biometric data, he said. He explained how a patient could use Verizon’s proposed virtual care service to open a video link over LTE from their smartphone or tablet to talk with their physician. The patient could do this from home or work, said Stratton, who argued the potential benefits in particular for rural users. However, Verizon's LTE network is not yet ubiquitous, which could be a limiting factor in these plans, at least in the short term. As it happens the operator will not launch the first of the services Stratton outlined until mid-2012. That service will support patients with key chronic diseases, Stratton said.