Northern Canadian mobile network operator Ice Wireless is partnering with Pharmaceutical Innovation Ltd. to offer advanced telehealth services to rural and isolated Arctic and sub-Arctic areas.

“This is exciting to introduce such cutting-edge e-health initiatives to Canada’s north, an area filled with rural communities that historically find themselves on the backburner when it comes to technological advances,” Samer Bishay, president of Ice Wireless’s parent, Iristel Ltd., said in a statement. “Using Iristel’s secured cloud infrastructure and Pharm Innovation’s robust products and services, Ice will begin its e-health pilot early in 2017.”

It will mean doctors, nurses and family members can monitor patients and and others remotely and in real-time. For example, the companies said in a news release, if an elderly person forgets to take her medication or her heartrate and blood pressure spike, caregivers some distance away will be alerted. Location-based technology will allow the app to locate the nearest hospital or health facility to the primary user and the app ensures that prescriptions are automatically refilled at the user’s pharmacy of choice.

Based in Markham, Ont., Pharmaceutical Innovation makes a number of safety-related products including InteleChip, a recordable voice chip that can be integrated in the cap of a vial of pills by pharmacists, and Intelepaks, a container that holds a week’s worth of daily pills that includes a programmable medication reminder with an audible alarm.

“Pharm Innovation has developed notable, original products that provide a holistic patient-centred approach to healthcare and medication management, insuring compliance and adherence,” Bishay said in the statement. “And Iristel and Ice are delivering them in a secure environment, protecting individuals’ private medical records.”

One is Health Espresso, a Bluetooth-enabled app the company says acts as a virtual caregiver. The primary user, typically an elderly or physically-challenged individual, wears a Bluetooth-enabled medical data collection device. A secondary user, either a family member or doctor, is connected to the data from the app at all times. The app also populates and tracks medication intake and checks for any adverse drug-to-drug interaction.

“Working with Iristel and Ice is a great fit, not only culturally through shared vision of using technology to improve lives, but because we see it critically important to roll out e-health in rural areas where patients sometimes travel hours and hours to get medical attention we take for granted in urban areas,” Tamer Mikhail, president and founder of Pharmaceutical Innovation, said in a statement.

Markham, Ont.-based Iristel has facilities in all 10 provinces and three territories.

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