Medical Info On Your Mobile Phone

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Toronto-based Diversinet, whose new strategy is to focus on secure mobile applications for the health-care industry, is behind a pilot project in North Bay, Ont., where members of the Blue Sky Family Health Team are testing Mihealth, a system that gives about 250 patients secure access to their own medical information on mobile phones.

The idea is to reduce the number of patient visits to the clinic as well as operating costs, while increasing efficiency and improving patient health.

The technology allows personal health records to be created and updated, giving patients routine test results, personalized tips on chronic-condition management, child immunization records, a spouse’s medical history in the emergency room, and insurance coverage confirmation. The trial is going well and is expected to expand, says Albert Wahbe, chairman and CEO, Diversinet.

“Your handheld mobile becomes your remote control to your health information 24/7,” says Wahbe.

Wendy Graham, a doctor at Blue Sky, says the application has been well-received by patients, and noted that health-care delivery is changing due to cost-containment needs, an aging population, and doctor/nursing shortages.

“This approach touches on all these drivers while preserving the integrity of the trusted doctor-patient relationship,” she says.

Another important trial that’s ongoing is with the U.S. Army, which Wahbe hopes to turn into a major contract. It’s using another Diversinet-powered application that keeps case managers in close contact with war veterans. Rather than the veterans being ‘on their own with a prescription’, the data on the mobile application opens a line of communication and results in better treatment.

Recently, the company also licensed its platform to HealthPartners, a non-profit health-care organization in the U.S. The partnership will initially allow the system to be available to women with high-risk pregnancies and people with chronic illnesses recently discharged from hospital, with the goals of avoiding premature births and reducing hospital readmissions.

Having reached an amicable settlement with AllOne Mobile Corp. to end its licensing partnership, Diversinet is in the process of recruiting a U.S. sales team and other medical experts to drive commercialization of its mobile software.

“We’ve been under the radar.” says Wahbe. “Now we’re taking our message to the market.”

Diversinet charges an up-front licensing fee of $150,000, and also receives a recurring revenue stream of $1-$2 per member each month. Wahbe believes in the company’s technology so much that he doesn’t take a salary, just shares and options. (He’s the company’s largest shareholder.) “I’m looking for a good return on the stock,” he says.

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