A Trade Arabia article quoting Sami Nashwan, Senior Vice President for Consumer Marketing at Saudi Telco Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), claims that in cooperation with the Riyadh based Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Group and Qualcomm they are launching a service that provides expecting parents with ultrasound videos of their unborn children via MMS so that they can then “share their happiness using high quality images that can be passed around between family and friends through MMS, social networks or even email”.
I’ve sent an email to Sami (I’ve known him for a few years as he’s very enthusiastic and knowledgeable mHealth proponent) for a bit of clarification because whilst it might sound exciting I’m more than a little skeptical about patient privacy issues that arise. Here’s a few that I can see evolving:
> Members of Social Networks may uncover medical issues that are accurate/inaccurate about an unborn child from the video and may insensitively share these with patients and their families
> New parents could be expected to have/share a video – adding additional pressure in what can be a very difficult time for parents of children who have had health concerns identified
> The sharing of potentially sensitive medical information via social media sites and insecure email suggests a lackadaisical approach to personal health records. Something that is not advisable particularly in a country where details revealing something like unmarried sex (for women) could get a citizen into trouble with the law
> Sharing sensitive medical details of an unborn child could present patient health issues due to Saudi Arabia’s strict legal abortion laws eg. Abortion isn’t legally permissible in the instance of rape, incest or fetal impairment
UPDATE 2130: Sami Nashwan confirmed the article was accurate. Link to page on Mobily Website