Will the UK Heatwave be another missed opportunity for the British telco’s mHealth units?

GP News Heatwave Warning

The UK’s national heatwave plan has been activated and last minute calls are being made for GPs, district nurses and social workers to actively identify and protect vulnerable patients on their practice lists. It’s disappointing that so far not one mobile operator is sending SMS alerts/reminders to their customers…

To me it looks like another big missed opportunity for the telcos who have been struggling to find a role and get traction for their dedicated mHealth teams (eg. O2 Health, Orange Healthcare, Vodafone mHealth).

Instead of alienating customers by selling off their data to the highest bidder here is an excellent opportunity to win trust by using customer data for good and to potentially save lives eg. by sending customers a SMS asking if they would like to receive a completely free video (via MMS) that would help them plan for the Heatwave.

The issue:

To get an idea of the suffering and lives that can be lost as a result of poor preparation for a heatwave please read this Earth Policy Institute article reporting on the European Heat Wave in 2003 that led to the tragic loss of at least 35,000 lives.

To highlight how poorly the British media appreciates the health challenges associated with a heat wave take one look at the stock photo picture chosen by GP magazine (“an essential part of surgery life for UK GPs since 1963… …34,500 GPs receive the publication each fortnight”) for their report to GPs (who at a healthcare title thought that a photo of an unprotected/unshaded fair-haired toddler having suncream applied whilst already in the sun was suitable for an article about extreme weather conditions????).

Do your part:

Please read this Heatwave Plan (320kb PDF) to get an idea of how to look after yourself and others and share this NHS Choice URL with your connections: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Summerhealth/Pages/Heatwave.aspx

If you have an elderly neighbour offer to check in on them during this hot spell and show them how to send you an SMS in case they ever need anything


About David Doherty

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