Canadian firm signs cloud tech deal with IBM

We know about the benefits of cloud technology for offloading workloads locally, but what about using it to move into emerging markets? Kallo, a provider of electronic healthcare systems based in Markham, ON, just signed a deal that will see it partner with IBM as its cloud solutions provider to take mobile clinics into West Africa.

Kallo used to be called Rophe Medical Technologies, and focused on supply medical equipment and software to places including India. Since renaming itself, it has started focused on full-spectrum turnkey medical services for communities in emerging markets.

The firm has just inked a $200m deal with the Republic of Guinea to provide a variety of healthcare services. These include telehealth systems, and clinical training for local doctors. This is all provided as part of its branded MobileCare solution.

The services will be delivered via RuralCare, which is a pre-fabricated clinic designed to be set up in as little as a week in rural areas. The clinic includes operating rooms, X-Ray imaging, a maternity ward and a dispensary. There will be 120 beds in the Guinea implementation, said Chris Barry, director of services and development at Kallo.

“There’s a lot of traction in EMR solutions in Canada, but emerging markets give us the opportunity to really make a difference,” Barry said. “We’re not just focused on providing technology, but we’re able to make a difference from a health perspective. We’re providing infrastructure that just isn’t there today.”

Kallo infohealth mobile healthcare

Kallo is using IBM’s Toronto SoftLayer cloud hosting centre to deliver its services. In Guinea, the electronic medical record and other services will be provided as a web application, accessible via tablet computers connected to a local router with a two-way satellite uplink.

One of the big wins in Guinea with be mobile health (mhealth), delivered by smartphone, Barry said. Smartphones are more ubiquitous there than people might think, he suggested, meaning that a local clinic can deliver patient reminders directly, for example.

“Our software even offers the ability to SMS treatment information to patients, or information about how to take the medications, all that kind of stuff. So it’s part of the education process,” he said. The clinics will also have large screens on the side to display health education information to local residents, he added.

Using cloud-based services also helps the firm to be nimble in its development, according to Barry.

“We don’t have to worry about procuring hardware, and we can very quickly bring up environments and test and do proof of concept,” he said. “One of the advantages of this software is that we can bring up an environment for a couple of days, use it, and then tear it down.”

The other thing that the Internet connected cloud-based service will help Kallo to deliver is telemedicine. “We provide access to medical specialties both in-country but also here in Canada. We can do surgical and radiology support, and we have that in our global response centre in our offices in Ontario,” said Barry. This means that local surgeons can show imagery to doctors back in Toronto, who can then advise.

It isn’t easy tackling an emerging market. Travel restrictions due to Ebola were a speed bump when trying to prepare the deal, Barry said. But the firm is in the final planning stages and waiting for the funding to come in. Kallo will also be rolling out its solution in Ghana, using IBM as its cloud provider, it said.

This is one of a number of cloud deals that IBM has signed. The firm recently announced a hybrid cloud agreement with Marriott, and a $500m services deal based on cloud technology with Anthem Health.

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Danny Bradbury
Danny Bradbury
Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with over 20 years' experience writing about security, software development, and networking.

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