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[DOHA] A Qatari healthcare innovation developed at the country's science and technology park will be rolled-out in clinics in Italy, under a new collaboration agreement signed last month (15 April).

The Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) will collaborate on innovations in preventative medicine with the Italian insurance company, Fondo di Assistenza Sanitaria Integrativa.  

As part of the agreement, the Italian company will roll out Qatar's technology for remote health monitoring, called 'RASAD', to its national network of over 2,000 clinics.

RASAD is the first 'Made in Qatar' technology in a domain other than fossil fuel energy to be commercialised internationally, according to the QSTP's executive chairman, Tidu Maini.

The technology uses sensors that measure physiological features, such as heart rate. These sensors link up wirelessly to software that analyses physiological data and alerts doctors to emerging health problems in individual patients.

"Using RASAD to monitor [for example] physical activity or a patients' heart behaviour will help health authorities prevent diseases, make treatments more effective, and define new health policies," Maini told SciDev.Net.

The new agreement will also see the Qatari science park and the Italian firm exchange information on preventative medicine with a focus on heart disease and diabetes.

Maini added that RASADis also used in a wide array of industries, such as engineering and construction, where it can mitigate health hazards that workers are exposed to.

Abdul Aziz Al Khulaifi, chair of cardiology at Al Ahli Hospital in Doha — which uses RASAD technology, said: "Prevention is far more effective, and more economical, than treating an illness after it has taken hold of the individual".

"With RASAD we can monitor larger groups of people, constantly and more effectively with minimum disruption to their daily routine and at a much lower cost," he told SciDev.Net.

Khulaifi added that Qatar should work on exporting this technology to developing countries.

"RASAD works efficiently with wireless technology and is compatible with all information and communications technologies [such as computers, mobile phones, smart phones] which are now commonplace in Gulf countries and the rest of Asia," he said.

Such telehealth solutions should be introduced at an early stage in countries' infrastructure development so that the "two will grow together and, indeed, mature together", Khulaifi said.