Vodafone wants in on the mobile healthcare action

We've just received word this morning that Britain's Vodafone Group is starting up a mobile healthcare unit at the beginning of 2010 that will work primarily with pharmaceutical companies and government agencies.

"I believe that mobile technology has a significant role to play in the provision of healthcare, primarily in the simplification of workflows, statistical analysis and record keeping and by giving professional healthcare providers the ability to support lifestyle choices for the chronically ill," Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said Tuesday at the Mobile Healthcare Industry Summit in London, Dow Jones Newswires reports.

Colao said he sees particular potential in emerging economic powerhouses such as India and China. There, "mobile technology can reach people in under-resourced, geographically dispersed communities," the Vodafone boss said.

The news comes little more than a week after Verizon Communications launched a major push into telehealth. Vodafone is a minority partner in Verizon Wireless, which entered into a wireless venture with Qualcomm last summer. That venture is targeting healthcare among several key industry segments.

For more about the new Vodafone business unit:
- see this Dow Jones Newswires report, via Total Telecom