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Why Spice & Qualcomm Have Partnered For mHealth In India

Spice Global has partnered with Qualcomm to launch health services on mobile in India themobileindian.com, reported last month. The service will be launched in tier I and II cities leveraging wifi, 3G and 4G technologies, and allow paitents to consult doctors. Spice has refused to comment any further on the announcement when Medianama approached them for more information.

Spice and Qualcomm in Healthcare

In 2011, Spice had launched Jiyo Healthy, an IVR and SMS based health information system that provides 24×7 information on healthcare to users for a nominal fee. Healthcare was one of the key segments Sam Gulve, former joint MD at Spice Mobility, had told MediaNama about, when speaking of Spice moving to a modular structure of operation. Spice  has also set up a hospital in Delhi called Saket City Hospital.

Qualcomm Life Inc, a subsidiary of Qualcomm was set up in 2011 to enable the wireless mHealth community including patients, doctors, healthcare experts, even developers and the technologists through its 2net platform. This platform is designed to access and store data from patients’ medical device which can later be retrieved and accessed through a cellular connection.

In addition to this, Qualcomm had also set up Qualcomm Life Fund for investments in healthcare, and has been investing in wireless companies like Sotera wireless, Telecare etc.

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It is also possible that Spice may be collaborating with Qualcomm to work using their 2net platform to provide mHealth services in India. This may be more so true considering the announcement to use 3G, 4G technologies instead of the IVR and SMS technologies.

Digital Healthcare in India

Providing content on the mobile has been present in India for some time now. mDhil has been around since 2008 providing health related information and tips to mobile users who subscribe to these services as VAS. Nokia phones like Nokia 100 have healthcare information available in their life tool services.

Subsequently, Ask a Doctor which is an android app was launched by Indian healthcare company, Healthcare Magic to provide patients with 24×7 access to doctors in the U.S., U.K, Australia and India. People can download the app for free and ask specific health issue related questions to doctors in real time and get them answered. For unlimited exchanges with the doctor, the patients are required to pay $9.95. Spice may be banking on the 2net platform’s ability to store data from medical devices as the USP that could differentiate them from other mhealth services available in India.

Diabeto is also a mobile based application that allows the patient to record their blood sugar readings directly from the device onto their mobile and track the readings over time.  There have also been other B2B mobile based applications like CommCare by Dimagi that are being used by ASHA workers and several NGOs in India to track different health related issues.

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