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Nokia Launches Remote Patient Monitoring Partnership

The company is using its latest acquisition - Withings - to support a digital health collaboration with Finland's largest neurology center.

By Eric Wicklund

- Nokia is setting its sights on remote patient monitoring.

The former Finnish cellphone stalwart, which acquired France-based mHealth device company Withings earlier this year, has announced a partnership with HUS/Helsinki University Hospital and the University of Helsinki. The company’s Nokia technologies unit plans to use its new Withings product line to develop home-based remote monitoring platforms in conjunction with Finland’s largest neurology center.

“At HUS, we see tremendous value in collaborating with innovative companies like Nokia to help the development of research-based knowledge into technologies that can drive more effective, personalized care for our patients,” Nina Forss, MD, PhD, who heads the HUS health system’s Department of Neurology, said in a press release. “The department of Neurology at HUS is acknowledged worldwide for providing the best acute stroke care in the world. This new collaboration reflects our continued commitment to excellence in research and improves the health and care of our patients at the later stage of the treatment chain.”

Nokia Technologies officials say this places the company firmly in the booming regulated clinical healthcare space.

“Our vision is to empower people to make good decisions about their health by providing them and their physician with the critical information they need, when they need it,” Cédric Hutchings, Nokia’s vice president of Digital Health and the former CEO of Withings, said in the release. “I’m excited about our collaboration with HUS as it will help us extend our span of care from everyday health and wellness devices to clinical solutions that help improve patient/physician interaction while informing our continued research and development in the clinical space.”

Nokia, which paid $191 million in cash for Withings and closed the deal quicker than anticipated, is divided into two units: an inpatient care technology in Finland and a health and wellness unit focused on apps and analytics and based in California’s Silicon Valley.

Company officials say they want to use Withings’ stable of digital devices and technology - including activity trackers, smartwatches, scales, thermometers, blood pressure monitors and more than 100 corresponding mHealth apps – to stake a claim in the booming Internet of Things market, especially the so-called Internet of Medical Things.

"We have identified digital health as a key for us. It fits the company, not just strategy of playing in the internet of things (IoT) space, but of connecting people to health and guiding them to healthier and happier lifestyle," Nokia Technologies President Ramzi Haidamus said when the Withings acquisition was announced in April (the deal was closed on May 31). "What Withings provides us is with is an accelerated pace into the market, an outstanding team, a great product portfolio … and great insight."

In Finland, Nokia will work closely with HUS – a five-hospital system centered on Helsinki University Hospital – and its Department of Neurology, which treats 14,000 patients each year at the Meilahti Hospital Neurological Outpatient Clinic, targeting the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of diseases of the nervous system or the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nervous system and muscles.

Dig Deeper:

Nokia Targets the Smart Home with Withings Acquisition

Can Healthcare’s Internet of Things Move from Froth to Function?


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