Fujitsu is beginning to preview a new type of phone that allows users to collect and share their own medical data. The prototype device, which uses Bluetooth technology to let people share their data, has already been certified by one major health care organization.
At the CEATEC (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) conference, which started Oct. 5 in Japan, Fujitsu unveiled the first prototype of this health care phone. The company also announced that the device has been certified by the Continua Health Alliance.
Continua is a nonprofit coalition of more than 200 companies in health care and technology that work toward interoperability of medical devices for personal health care. The Fujitsu handset received Continua certification on Sept. 30 and will be available exclusively in Japan this fall as part of NTT Docomo's Prime series, Fujitsu spokesperson Adam Blankenship wrote in an e-mail to eWEEK.
"The phone will make it easier for people to manage their health," Blankenship wrote. "It will connect wirelessly with a variety of personal medical equipment, as well as Web-based health services, to enable people to track their blood pressure, weight and other health indices."
Once the medical data reaches the phone via Bluetooth, it can be sent to doctors and downloaded into EHR (electronic health record) applications on the handset.
Fujitsu said it will release more specific details of the phone when the commercial model arrives.
"This is not a concept phone," Blankenship wrote. "It's ready to be commercialized, and a model will be formally announced in the coming months."
Fujitsu notes in a company brochure that the Docomo Prime phone will connect to health support services via the cloud.
"Allowing consumers the opportunity to manage their own health helps to reduce health care costs, allows greater independence for seniors and can help manage-and sometimes prevent-chronic illnesses," said Rick Cnossen, president and chair of the Continua Health Alliance, in a statement.
At the conference, Continua will also demonstrate the online applications used to store individual health data, Cnossen said.
Using Bluetooth 2.1 and HDP (Health Device Profile), the Fujitsu phone will be able to receive data from other Continua-certified wireless medical devices and send them to doctors over the Internet.
Mobile phones show a lot of promise for allowing people to manage their health. The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions called the combination of EMRs (electronic medical record) and mobile phones the "killer app."
In addition to the Continua-certified phone, Fujitsu is showing a number of other smartphones and tablets at CEATEC. One prototype clamshell phone, running Symbian, features two swiveling touch screens: one 3.5 inches and the other 3.4 inches, according to CrunchGear.
Member companies in the Continua Health Alliance include Cisco, IBM, Intel and Oracle.
On Sept. 28 Continua added Microsoft as a member in its health care industry alliance. Microsoft's HealthVault is a cloud application that allows people to track their health data.