ESA hopes to bring efficiency in telemedicine

ESA (European Space Agency), keeping in mind that satellite solutions can bring efficiency in telemedicine networks, is preparing a European telemedicine via satellite programme, which will be of direct benefit to the healthcare community. This project, developed in close partnership with experts from the World Health Organisation, will identify and describe scenarios for health early warning and set up a pre-operational demonstration, which may request specific satellite telecommunications services. A mobile unit providing ‘epidemiological intelligence’ will be deployed in remote areas, or in locations where the communications infrastructure has been destroyed. It will consist of a mobile communications facility, restoring high bandwidth communications using satellites, linked to a field laboratory, enabling in situ analyses. The demonstration systems will include elements that can be marketed separately, with the intention of offering a bundle of services for healthcare, which will reinforce the economical sustainability of the satellite telecommunication services. Within this project it has been decided to focus on two particular situations: an earthquake and a terrorist attack scenario. It has also been decided to study diseases like the recent avian flu issues. The early warning systems that will soon be demonstrated should ultimately become useful and sustainable tools for the healthcare community.


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