BRUSSELS, Sept. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The GSMA mHealth Grand Tour, a 13-day cycling challenge from Brussels to Barcelona to raise awareness of diabetes and showcase the power of mobile health (mHealth) solutions, kicks off today at the Autoworld Museum in Parc Cinquantenaire, Brussels at 10:00 CET. The Tour is being presented in partnership with the International Diabetes Federation, European Region (IDF Europe), under the patronage of European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes.
"There are 55 million people living with diabetes in Europe1 and about 10 per cent of the overall EU annual healthcare expenditure is being spent on diabetes2," said Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer, GSMA. "GSMA research, developed in partnership with PwC, has already shown that mHealth can save five million people in the EU from being at risk of developing diabetes by 2017.3 The mHealth Grand Tour will highlight how mobile technology can support diabetes prevention, diagnosis and treatment by increasing the reach and accessibility of healthcare services, cutting the cost of care and minimising the impact of the illness on people's lives."
A key element of the mHealth Grand Tour is a first-of-its-kind observational study designed by Professor Michael Trenell, NIHR Senior Research Fellow and Director, MoveLab, Newcastle University, into the effects of multi-day endurance exercise on blood glucose levels, using data captured and transmitted wirelessly through a multi-vendor mHealth solution. The study will track the health and cycling performance data of elite and sub-elite athletes with type 1 diabetes, as well as cyclists without diabetes.
"A physically active lifestyle is vital in managing all types of diabetes and yet there is very little published research on the physiology of how this works," commented Professor Trenell. "The mHealth Grand Tour presents a unique, invaluable opportunity to conduct research using an innovative mHealth application that functions wirelessly, without intrusion into the riders' performance. By comparing data from the three groups of athletes we hope to gather information that will benefit all people with diabetes and those at risk of diabetes."
For the observational study, a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor worn by the riders and sensors on their bike computers transmit statistics over the ANT+ protocol to Sony Mobile handsets, so riders can track their own progress. The sensors also transmit the stats to a HMM module that is part of a complete Orange solution that in turn sends them over mobile broadband to a live website and to the cloud, for later download by the observational study team. The website will contain a McCann Health data visualisation portal for tracking the riders' stats and an Orange geolocation portal for tracking the riders' progress. All mobile broadband technologies in the solution comply with Continua Health Alliance guidelines for interoperability.
"People living with diabetes can achieve any goal that people without diabetes can achieve," said Jake Leach, Vice President of Research and Development, Dexcom. "Complete mHealth solutions, which begin with sensors, provide patient feedback and arrive in the clinician's inbox, make health goals achievable and safe. The mHealth Grand Tour partners designed the technical solution to be immediately applicable to this kind of clinical setting."
Partners in the mHealth Grand Tour are ANT+, Dexcom, Etisalat, HMM, McCann Health, Orange, Sony Mobile and u-blox. Official teams include TeamBG, Team Etisalat, Team Fira-Sodexo, Team GSMA, Team Novo Nordisk and Team u-blox. Additional organisations that are joining the GSMA and IDF Europe in helping to raise awareness of diabetes care, prevention and research include A&D Medical, Barcelona Business Pass, Carmichael Training Systems, Catalan Diabetes Association, Continua Health Alliance, Diabetes Croatia, Diabetes Germany, EHTEL, Enterprise Ireland, The European Federation of Nurses Associations (EFN), the International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth (ISfTeH), The King's Fund, MedTech Europe, mHIMSS Europe, Mobile World Capital Barcelona, Roche, tag-a-bag, TicSalut and TORQ.
The GSMA mHealth Grand Tour will depart from Brussels on 5 September 2013 and arrive in Barcelona, after 2,100km and 22,000m of climbs, on 18 September 2013. The mHealth Grand Tour was conceived as a way of bringing together all of the organisations involved: pharmaceutical companies, mobile operators, healthcare providers, technology companies, patients, healthcare professionals and governments, to share experiences, to raise awareness about diabetes and its challenges, demonstrate the potential of mHealth as part of the solution, and raise funds for diabetes research and charities.
Also on 5th September, the GSMA is holding its Mobile 360-Europe event in Brussels, which will investigate how smart public policy can maximise the potential of mobile networks, technologies and services ahead of the launch of the EU Single Market Telecoms Plan. It will feature a Connected Living Showcase to demonstrate the positive impact of mobile across a range of industry sectors. For more details, see www.mobile360series.com/europe/.
1 International Diabetes Federation
2 OECD Health at a glance: Europe 2012
3 Socio-economic impact of mHealth: An assessment report for the European Union, GSMA-PwC, June 2013
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world's mobile operators with more than 230 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo.