Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Ice warms to telehealth services in northern Canada

Steve Rogerson
October 11, 2016
Ice Wireless, a mobile network operator in Canada's North, is joining forces with Pharmaceutical Innovation to offer telehealth services to rural and isolated Arctic and sub-Arctic areas, including amenities not yet available on other wireless networks across Canada.
"This is exciting to introduce such cutting-edge e-health initiatives to Canada's North, an area filled with rural communities that historically find themselves on the backburner when it comes to technological advances," says Samer Bishay, president of Ice Wireless and its parent company, telecom carrier Iristel. "Using Iristel's secured cloud infrastructure and Pharm Innovation's robust products and services, Ice will begin its e-health pilot early in 2017."
It will mean doctors, nurses and family members can monitor patients and loved ones remotely and in real time. For example, among the many varied applications, if an elderly person forgets to take medication or his or her heart rate and blood pressure spike, caregivers hundreds or thousands of kilometres away will be alerted. Location-based technology will allow the app to locate the nearest hospital or health facility to the primary user and the app ensures that prescriptions are automatically refilled at the user's pharmacy of choice.
"Pharm Innovation has developed notable, original products that provide a holistic patient-centred approach to healthcare and medication management, insuring compliance and adherence," Bishay said. "And Iristel and Ice are delivering them in a secure environment, protecting individuals' private medical records."
One such service is Health Espresso, a Bluetooth-enabled app that acts as a virtual caregiver through a friendly interface that is equipped with verbal communications and speech recognition. The primary user, typically an elderly or physically-challenged individual, wears a Bluetooth-enabled medical data collection device. A secondary user, either a family member or doctor, is connected to the data from the app at all times. The app also populates and tracks medication intake and checks for any adverse drug-to-drug interaction.
"Working with Iristel and Ice is a great fit, not only culturally through shared vision of using technology to improve lives, but because we see it as critically important to roll out e-health in rural areas where patients sometimes travel hours and hours to get medical attention we take for granted in urban areas," said Tamer Mikhail, president and founder of Pharmaceutical Innovation.
Iristel is Canada's largest and fastest-growing competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC). Founded in 1999 and licenced by the CRTC, the Markham-based company is Canada's only carrier with facilities in all ten provinces and three territories and a network extending coast-to-coast-to-coast.
Ice Wireless is a facilities-based mobile network operator that delivers 3G and 4G HSPA+ technology to rural and remote areas of Canada with LTE coming in 2017. Ice Wireless was launched in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, in 2005. The Ice network covers 75 per cent of the population of the Yukon and Northwest Territories and also provides service to Iqaluit, Nunavut and northern Quebec.