In order to address both the opportunities and challenges inherent in e-/m-health, SES SA will launch SATMED (SATellite + MEDicine). SATMED is a satellite enhanced cloud-computing based Telemedicine platform that aims to improve the access to and simplify the use of e-Health. This platform will be available through the project webpage and in areas where internet connectivity is not available the platform will be available through satellite. Because it is cloud-based and accessible via SES satellite connection, SATMED will be readily available and accessible everywhere.
SATMED will provide a range of e-health services at different levels: satellite connectivity for remote areas with no internet connectivity, e-health and m-health tools developed with the advice of doctors, and tools developed by international communities for providing universal access to e-care, e-learning, e-health administration, e-health financing, etc. SATMED will also provide access to cloud services for secure data storage, exchange, and data backup.
SATMED will be easy to use and will bring together a wide spectrum of e-/m-health functionalities in a single platform that is accessed by a single login, eliminating duplicative processes. The cloud-based system will reduce the need for expensive on-the-ground ICT resources and their maintenance. NGOs will provide feedback through usability studies and available tools will be adjusted and customized for their use.
During a pilot phase, the complete system, satellite terminal equipment, and software platform will be deployed to partner organizations, including NGOs, hospitals, medical universities, and other health care providers that are active in resource poor areas. Up to 15 satellite terminals will be installed in project locations in Bangladesh, Benin, Eritrea, Guinea, the Philippines, and Sierra Leone. Partner organizations will use SATMED to improve access to medical care, reinforce their medical training programs, make health management more effective and quality assured, and/or upgrade their collection, management, and visualization of data.
While SES will lead and manage the project and the resources, SATMED will require expertise from a wide spectrum of disciplines. Well-known global health NGOs, medical universities, and hospitals from Europe, Asia, and Africa will ensure that the platform and its e-health tools are tailored to the needs of the global health community.
Jan - March 2014, Set-Up Phase:
Setup of system architecture based on: NGO requirements, obtained from extensive exchange with the NGO headquarters as well as from discussions with their physicians and the local physicians; assessments of functional requirements and technical features of e-/m-health tools that are currently available; and technical requirements for hosting and operating the SATMED web-portal.
April 2014 - February 2015, Implementation Phase:
- Development of the portal and auxiliary applications for users like: user management, group management, notification management, etc.
- Integration, improvement (if needed), and customization of already existing solutions and development of educational and consultancy tools.
- Building cloud and hosting infrastructure as well as satellite infrastructure.
-The platform implementation phase will be done in an iterative fashion with the partner NGOs, allowing for an evolutionary roadmap with multiple occasions for pilot users to provide their feedback on functionality and usability requirements.
March 2015 - July 2015, Validation and Deployment Phase:
- Extensive Testing and validation the system (SATMED platform) performance, robustness, and user friendliness.
- First Training to the NGO and local users.
- After testing and validation, the system's performance will be tested in real situations and a system optimization will be performed where appropriate, with a Pilot terminal at SES and multiple accounts already created for the users.
In parallel with testing and validation, there will be a coordinated system deployment in all project locations (Archemed-Eritrea, Friendship-Bangladesh, FFL-Benin, German Doctors-Philippines and Sierra Leone, MSF-Guinea) with approximately 15 satellite terminals and IT equipment being deployed simultaneously in Africa and Asia.
August 2015 - December 2016, Pilot Phase:
- Platform in full operation. During the duration of the project the pilot users will be given opportunity to comment on the project deliverables and to provide their feedback on the current direction and status of the project.
Over the life of the project, dissemination of access to the technology and the platform will be crucial in order to incorporate new users, be in a continuous process of improvement, and achieve the necessary critical mass for sustainability beyond the duration of the project.
Electronic and mobile health (e-/m-health), the practice of medicine and public health supported by electronic processes and mobile devices, holds the potential to expand the capacity of health systems in under-resourced areas, resulting in increased access to quality healthcare for larger segments of the population. With the exponential growth in mobile phone adoption, those in the health sector are increasingly able to use e-/m-health resources to provide improved services to their constituencies.
However, major barriers exist in the e-/m-health space. Costs for high-quality e-/m-health can be very high. Commercially available software is often very expensive, and the customization and implementation of open-access/source solutions requires expert knowledge and hardware which can be very costly, too. Moreover, the maintenance and operation of the IT infrastructure and of the sensitive health data requires expenditure such as fire-walling, back-up systems, and quality controls. For individual projects, particularly those of smaller size, the mandatory investments and operational cost are not affordable
Currently, it is possible to dramatically improve access to care and reduce economic barriers by combining state-of-the-art satellite connectivity and cloud computing. Patients can be remotely diagnosed by experts thousands of miles away, doctors and nurses can improve their knowledge through online courses or life sessions, and lives can be saved through easy access to necessary information available anywhere via the internet. Satellite technology can provide this internet connectivity to underdeveloped and not-connected areas.
SES is a world-leading satellite operator that owns and operates a fleet of 55 geostationary satellites, complemented by a global network of teleports and offices, all of which cover 99% of the world's population. Through its hardware and expertise, SES SA is well positioned to create a solution to e-/m-health challenges.