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July 26, 2016

Sony Establishes Platform for the Sharing of Medical and Health Information and Launches the "harmo" Electronic Medication Notebook Service for Medical Care Facilities and Pharmacies


Platform for the sharing of medical and health information

Tokyo, Japan - Sony Corporation announced that has launched a platform for the sharing of medical and health information that leverages the FeliCa contactless IC card technology and utilizes secure* cloud systems, placing the highest priority on the protection of users' personal information. Sony has established this platform in a relatively short period of time, and with it, participating facilities will benefit from easy sharing of users' health data.

* After being encrypted, data is separated and saved to different locations. While the data identifying the individual is saved on the IC card, the heath data itself, with no personal identification, is saved to the cloud server. Because of this, even in the case that data saved to the server is compromised, the owner of that data cannot easily be pinpointed, making this platform highly secure in the protection of personal information. Only when the IC card is tapped against a reader at a participating location are the two data sets linked together.

The FeliCa contactless IC card technology has a strong track record in realms such as transportation and e-money. Utilizing FeliCa technology, users of this new platform will be able to display and record data simply by tapping their cards against readers at participating locations. The secure cloud system that this platform utilizes is underpinned by Sony's unique, patented data separation technology, which has been recognized for its innovativeness and applicability.

"harmo" electronic medication notebook service

As the first service to be offered on its new platform, Sony launched the "harmo" electronic medication notebook in July 2016.

Trial run results

Since the autumn of 2011, Sony has deployed harmo to select markets on a trial run basis. Through these trials for the harmo electronic medication notebook, Sony has worked to confirm the real world functional value of a platform for the sharing of medical and health information.

The practical usefulness of harmo has been recognized, through this trial run, by a wide range of facilities, from pharmacies and hospitals to medical and dental clinics. As of July 2016, harmo has been adopted by approximately 880 different medical care facilities and pharmacies in 10 cities across Japan. All told, more than 75,000 people are using harmo at these locations in their daily lives.

Main characteristics of harmo

harmo is an electronic medication notebook accessed through the harmo card, one of which is provided to every user. A card can be created for anyone, from toddlers to the elderly, with no smartphone required. The user can share his or her prescription information with doctors or pharmacists simply by tapping the card against a reader. By opting for a card-based system, Sony hopes to increase the number of harmo users. Because reliable data is recorded to harmo, it makes it easier for patients to obtain the most appropriate medication guidance from pharmacists.

A dedicated harmo smartphone app offers additional benefits to users. With the app, they can set alarms to remind themselves to take their medicine, manage their prescription history, declare their preference for generic medications, and record known allergies. The harmo app also makes it easier to provide support to those closest and dearest to users. Guardians can manage the prescription information of their children, and families can check up on their elderly relatives from whom they live apart. In these ways, harmo is expected to contribute to improved "medication adherence," a term that refers to patients taking their medications as prescribed.

The future proliferation of harmo will help to reduce incidents where patients forget to take their medication, as well as increase the effectiveness of pharmacists' medication guidance. These are likely to contribute to fewer leftover drugs and duplicate prescriptions, thereby reducing unnecessary health care costs.

Future expansion of the platform

Sony will build upon the knowledge and relationships that it gained through the approximately 5-year trial run for harmo, and it will continue to promote this platform for the sharing of community-based medical and health information to medical care facilities and pharmacies, primarily on the strength of the harmo service. Sony will also work to discover new value in harmo, such as by examining the ways in which the statistics accumulated by the service can be leveraged to provide users with additional meaningful information. In the longer-term, Sony will continue to develop the platform with the aim of adapting it to a wide range of different fields.

Electronic medical notebook service participation fee for participating locations / service availability

Service participation fee

Facility type Service participation fee
Facility type Pharmacy Service participation fee Available on the harmo website:
Introduction - harmo website
Facility type Hospital, clinic Service participation fee To be announced soon on the harmo website
(Service slated to launch on December 1, 2016)

Service availability

Available areas
Sapporo City, Hokkaido Prefecture; Saitama Prefecture; Tokyo Metropolis; Kanagawa Prefecture; Shiga Prefecture; Osaka Prefecture; Hyogo Prefecture
Sony will work to expand service availability, area by area. Please access the harmo website for the latest details pertaining to availability.

  • Sony welcomes any and all consultations regarding participation in the service, regardless of area availability and facility type.
  • Sony is planning to implement a pricing scheme for municipalities and medical care zones, for cases in which the number of applying locations in the area exceeds a set threshold, and in which the applying facilities are of more than one type.
  • Sony is looking for partners to assist in its efforts to promote the sharing of community-based medical and health information, through the expansion of the harmo electronic medical notebook service.

For inquiries from facilities considering becoming a participating harmo location:

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