Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Qualcomm and Xi'an Kingtone launch 3G project to prevent lifelong vision disability in children

BEIJING, CHINA: Qualcomm Inc., through its Wireless Reach initiative, and Xi'an Kingtone Information Technology Co. Ltd, in collaboration with China Children and Teenagers' Fund, announced the launch of the Mobile Vision Project.

The project utilizes a 3G-enabled mobile application developed by Xi'an Kingtone Information, smartphones powered by Qualcomm chipsets and 3G wireless connectivity to assist doctors in collecting and archiving information related to the screening and treatment of children with amblyopia in underserved communities in China.

According to the National Eye Institute at the United States National Institutes of Health, amblyopia, also referred to as "lazy eye," is the most common cause of vision impairment in childhood. If detected early, amblyopia is treatable; however, if not, it can cause lifelong disability.

In China, a key reason for lack of treatment is that clinicians in rural areas often lack the knowledge on how to properly diagnose and care for children with this disease. Additionally, financial hardship prevents many children in remote areas from traveling to urban areas for therapy, where even there challenges in diagnosis and care also are encountered.

Wireless Reach, Xi'an Kingtone Information and China Children and Teenagers' Fund collaborated to implement the Mobile Vision Project to address these challenges. The project, which is being implemented at Hengshui City Maternal and Child Care Service Center (MCCSC) and other public health centers in Hebei Province, utilizes a custom mobile application that enables data collection and analysis, as well as helps with patient screening and diagnosis, to provide more accurate statistics and, therefore, better patient care.

The new system also gives clinicians access to a searchable online ophthalmology database for a comprehensive collection of eye care information. Hengshui Women's Federation and China Children and Teenagers' Fund provided support for the project through their specialized institution focusing on children with amblyopia. The Mobile Vision project serves approximately 400,000 children and teenagers up to the age of 14.

"One of the focuses of the China Children and Teenagers' Fund is on children with amblyopia, especially those in underserved areas," said Xiaoxia Chen, general secretary of the China Children and Teenagers' Fund. "Wireless technology and applications enable the rapid spread of knowledge about amblyopia and other common eye diseases, which can improve local clinicians' capabilities of screening and treatment, and provide better, more timely care to children with this condition."

Eye care professionals in towns and villages received 3G-enabled smartphones, laptop computers, PCs and mobile broadband connectivity via China Telecom's 3G EV-DO network. With these tools and technologies, doctors can access the system anytime and anywhere via a Web portal or mobile application in order to do basic reporting and submit information to county-level MCCSCs.

In addition, county health workers can electronically review patients' health records for screening and then refer children needing further treatment to city-level public health centers. City-level health workers also can access the system to obtain directions on how to treat and cure patients.

The Mobile Vision Project began in October 2011. Today, 50 township-level clinics regularly use the system in their daily medical practice and an additional 71 clinics are registered to roll out the system in the coming months. Of the 1,144 eye exams collected to date, 684 resulted in a diagnosis of amblyopia.

"We are honored to work with Qualcomm on this project to show how wireless technologies can have significant positive impact in health care," said Tao Li, president of Xi'an Kingtone Information. "Early results indicate that the 3G-enabled system assists in better collection and analysis of patients' health information, improves efficiency and timeliness in data exchange between health workers and improves data collection, screening and treatment."

"Since 2006, Qualcomm has been committed to demonstrating the use of advanced wireless technology to improve health care, education and entrepreneurship in China," said Xiang Wang, senior VP and president of Qualcomm Greater China. "The Mobile Vision Project builds on the knowledge we have gained over the years to help improve patient care in rural communities and is a powerful example of how through collaboration, we can create projects that make a difference in people's lives."

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