Mobile Baby gets babies online before birth

Great Connection, which puts medical scans like X-rays and ultrasounds into the cloud, just announced that its Mobile Baby service will be used in a pilot project in Egypt to perform remote diagnostics on pregnant women. Great Connection already has deployments in maternity clinics in Saudi Arabia and Sweden.

Most pregnancy clinics currently use CDs or other physical media to store and share images. They also need to archive images for up to 10 years, which can be very costly. Great Connection’s Mobile Baby cloud service can be used to share scans with expectant mothers (potentially an important source of revenue for clinics), with doctors and also to archive the data.

Ultrasound and X-ray machines use proprietary medical image formats and protocols that are understood by Great Connection’s software. The scanning machine’s operator initiates the image or video transfer directly from the ultrasound machine to a cloud server. During transfer, sensitive data like social security numbers are removed from the content and it is encrypted and authenticated. From the cloud server the images can be shared with doctors or mothers via email or social networks. Images can also be sent to mobile phones using MMS or SMS.

Many maternity clinics do not have a doctor permanently onsite. Midwives are not allowed to make a diagnosis when they spot a problem. The Mobile Baby service allows images to be shared quickly with doctors, who can make a remote diagnosis.

Remote diagnosis is even more important in developing countries. Egypt has only one doctor for 1,900 people as opposed to one physician for every 400 people in a country like the U.S. The ratio is much higher in many countries in Asia and Africa. Mobile Baby is offered in Egypt by Mobinil, the country’s leading mobile operator, and is initially being launched in Cairo with plans to expand to clinics and hospitals across other parts of the country, including rural regions, which have much lower levels of access to medical services.

The service is being introduced with support from Qualcomm, which already offers a diverse range of mobile health services. Mobinil’s parent company is Orascom Telecom which operates GSM networks in markets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia with a total population of 506 million.

Mobile ultrasound can also be used to scan at an accident site to determine, for example, whether a patient has internal bleeding and should receive a transfusion immediately.

Great Connection was founded in Sweden in 2007 but is now based in San Diego.

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