Du has signed partnership deals with several international companies to launch a mobile-health service that will be available across the UAE.
Du signs deal for mobile-health service across UAE
The telecoms operator said the service would include a call centre staffed by physicians, a text-message service, and health-monitoring equipment that would send data from patients' homes to local hospitals.
It has signed a deal with a US company called Mobile Doctors 24-7, which will run a call centre being built in the UAE.
It has also formed a collaboration with Ericsson to provide telecoms-enabled healthcare equipment.
"Telecom companies are becoming an integral part of the social fabric," said Osman Sultan, the chief executive of du.
"We all know today the importance of health in societies that are progressing."
The call centre being developed will be run by Mobile Doctors, said Farid Faraidooni, the chief commercial officer at du. It will be staffed by physicians bound by confidentiality clauses.
"The call centre is being established here in the UAE as we speak. This is partnership with an American company called Mobile Doctors 24-7," said Mr Faraidooni.
"Before paying a visit to a doctor, they can call this service. We will go into a pilot in [the third quarter] of this year and launch it nationwide in [the fourth]."
Mr Faraidooni said du had also entered into a "collaboration" with Ericcson to provide health-monitoring equipment for use in patients' homes.
Such equipment can be used to check blood pressure or blood-sugar levels, for example, and automatically send information back to the hospital via the mobile network. "We will be doing a pilot in the third quarter of this year. We are in advanced discussions with one of the hospitals here in the UAE," said Mr Faraidooni. A "full nationwide launch" would follow, he added.
"We're building an ecosystem which will connect patients with healthcare providers," he said. The system could call a patient into the hospital for further healthcare support, he added.
Du expects to gain revenue from the scheme partly through SMS messages. The operator has this year launched text services that purport to help consumers to quit smoking, lose weight and live healthily. Du said it planned to expand this service to provide SMS tips on pregnancy and women's health.