Orange: The way to a customer's heart is, well, slicing into the body

Wirelessly slurping your ticker via home broadband

Orange's Healthcare arm has signed up to provide data management to users of implanted cardiac monitors made by device manufacturer Sorin: which is one way to ensure your broadband customers don't churn.

Sorin makes various bits of kit for improving the heath of one's heart through cybernetics, including a range of battery-powered monitors with radio transmitters, and it’s the data from these that Orange Healthcare will be collecting daily before serving up to medical professionals who haven't the time or energy to see patients in person.

"With remote monitoring, I can efficiently review clinical and device data – usually collected during in-office follow-up – while patients stay at home," says the tame MD quoted in the company's release.

Once you've had a heart monitor surgically implanted, you're probably beyond the "attention seeking old-style hypochondriacs" dismissed by industry experts at the Future World Symposium. Most health monitoring tech is born of solutions looking for problems, but we'd hope that implanted monitors would be reserved for those who really need them.

Not that the monitors will be reporting back constantly – they only send their data, daily, to an in-home receiver developed cooperatively by both companies. That monitor uses the householder's internet connection to push the data on: this isn't going to spot a critical emergency, but instead build up a database from which the medical professional (or his Expert System) can spot trends.

Health monitoring is big business at the moment; the baby-boom generation is aging fast, and is equipped with pensions large enough to pay for this kind of thing. All the UK telecommunication companies are expanding their e-Health operations, with the notable exception of Everything Everywhere.

Everything Everywhere is split between Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, both of which have their own e-health initiatives. Orange Heathcare is part of the Orange Group, itself owned by France Telecom, which also owns half of the UK's biggest network operator, Everything Everywhere, which operates a brand called "Orange" which sells mobile phones to you and me...

Confusing, isn't it? But it's important as network operators increasingly seek to broaden their offerings. Vodafone and O2 both have robust healthcare offerings, but as long as EE's parents have their own agendas, it is unlikely to try to compete.

That's assuming that mobile health does turn into the money-spinner the industry is expecting, which really depends on how much we're prepared to spend on it. ®

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