French telecomm giants Orange and Alcatel-Lucent have signed a cooperation agreement to combine their technology and infrastructure to develop services for e-health and enhanced assisted living.

The two companies will partner to deliver the next wave of solutions to address healthcare challenges in Europe and emerging markets.

The firms say they will pool their expertise to provide solutions built upon communication networks to provide e-health services for public and private health systems.

Although no details of products have been announced yet, the companies say they will focus on three areas: assisted living for patients and the elderly, better business efficiency for healthcare professionals and cutting costs for healthcare.

Thierry Zylberberg, executive vice president, head of Orange Healthcare division, said in a press statement: “Telecommunications today means much more than voice services. Orange is constantly seeking to innovate in order to deliver greater value and to offer its customers services and solutions, such as e-health, to improve their life.

Both companies already have considerable experience in healthcare. In 2007, Orange launched its Connected Hospitals solution to allow medical teams to have wider access across hospitals to patient information. Alcatel provides a range of telecare solutions services to improve patient care at home.

Zylberberg added: “Our agreement with Alcatel-Lucent in this field is a long lasting one, highlighting our willingness to reinforce our cooperative efforts to deliver the best e-health solutions.”

Pierre Barnabé, head of Alcatel-Lucent’s business in France, said communications have to play a key role in the transformation of health systems.

He said: “The marketplace is looking for trusted partners that understand a broad range of communications technologies and can simplify them in a turnkey solution.

“We believe this partnership with Orange illustrates perfectly our philosophy in terms of shared innovation and addresses the challenging healthcare domain requirements in a very innovative manner and in a way that will improve the life of the patients.”

In April, Orange announced a partnership with medical device company Sorin Group to develop remote monitoring for patients with implanted cardiac rhythm management devices.

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