Vodafone and HealthBeacon plot global medtech IoT roll-out

27 Nov 2018

Debbie Power of Vodafone Ireland with Kieran Daly of HealthBeacon. Image: Naoise Culhane

HealthBeacon’s global deal with Vodafone is a triumph for tech ‘med’ in Ireland.

Irish digital therapeutics start-up HealthBeacon, which was granted FDA approval for its digital healthcare technology earlier this year, is to be given a major boost into global markets with Vodafone.

Vodafone Ireland has revealed a global partnership wit HealthBeacon to provide internet of things (IoT) connectivity for the roll-out of the latter’s smart sharps bins across several new countries in the coming year.

‘As an innovative and high-growth company, it was important for us to find the best partner to help us scale globally’

Last week, Vodafone unveiled its first live 5G base station in Ireland and also revealed a partnership with NovaUCD to enable start-ups and businesses to test use cases for 5G. It is envisaged that 5G will be pivotal for the potential use of swarms of IoT devices within square kilometres.

The internet of health

The HealthBeacon device is a smart sharps bin for patients who self-inject medications at home for conditions such as arthritis and MS. It is digitally connected and programmed with a patient’s personal medication schedule and uses customised reminders to help them stay on track with their medication.

HealthBeacon integrates Vodafone’s IoT connectivity and services to track and support medication adherence for both patients and their healthcare professionals. Already launched in more than 10 countries, the connectivity provided by Vodafone drives the power behind the clinical insights derived from the data collected by the smart device.

Clinical studies have demonstrated that only 50pc to 70pc of patients adhere properly to prescribed drug therapy. Smart, connected devices, such as those offered by HealthBeacon, have demonstrated an ability to drive double-digit improvements in adherence.

“Through our global network, Vodafone enables IoT connectivity to their [HealthBeacon’s] smart sharps bin, so medication tracking and adherence data can be captured and transferred securely between patients and their healthcare team,” explained Debbie Power, Vodafone Ireland IoT country manager.

“Healthcare is becoming completely connected, and Vodafone’s IoT technology and innovation is key to providing better data to enable more informed care decisions. Remote patient monitoring is one element that empowers people to manage their conditions, and helps them to live more independently. Our next-generation network means we are at the forefront of ensuring healthcare is securely connected now and into the future,” said Power.

A healthy outcome for Irish medtech

The machine is made in Ireland and the company has strong ties to the US since it was founded by Irish-American and native Bostonian Jim Joyce, who originally came to Ireland to work with a US pharma FDI company located here.

Launching commercially in Europe in 2013, HealthBeacon currently serves thousands of patients across 10 markets in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

HealthBeacon last year revealed plans to create 20 new jobs in Dublin in roles spanning IT, software development, project management and customer service, to bring its headcount close to 40 people. The company also opened offices in Boston last year to pave the way for its North American expansion.

“As an innovative and high-growth company, it was important for us to find the best partner to help us scale globally,” said HealthBeacon CTO and co-founder Kieran Daly.

“Vodafone was a natural fit to help us grow quickly as they offer worldwide connectivity on a unified platform. This enables HealthBeacon to streamline our expansion and launch new countries quickly. This global partnership will serve patients all over the world, and ensure seamless connectivity for both our current and next-generation devices.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years