Spanish operator Telefónica has joined forces with the CIBERESP research center of the Carlos III Health Institute to launch a project aimed at monitoring people who have had contact with imported infectious diseases. As part of the project, Telefónica will provide 200 participants with a kit comprising a smartphone monitoring application, a SIM card and a digital thermometer with a Bluetooth interface. The participants will use the kit during a 21-day incubation period and report back to the medical team in Barcelona’s Hospital Clinic twice a day. Telefónica recently announced that it was using a similar smartphone-based remote monitoring platform to study the evolution of 40 patients with Parkinson’s disease in Spain, Italy, Ireland and Israel.
Health-related smartphone applications have proved useful and popular in many markets, and Telefónica’s contribution to infectious disease prevention and monitoring will likely benefit the operator’s public image. Initiatives such as this, while not large revenue-generators, bolster the operator’s brand and also foster experimentation with regard to the possible applications of smartphone technology. Such applications could potentially be extended in the future into more easily monetized sectors.