ESA issues new invitations to tender for telemedicine

Telemedicine
2 August 2005

To further enhance the use of satellite telecommunications in support of e-Health and telemedicine, ESA’s Telecommunications Department has issued three new Invitations to Tender.

The first Invitation to Tender (ITT) is 'Management of Medical Emergency for Commercial Aviation' and calls for a portable telemedicine system which can help diagnosis from on-board civil aircraft, by allowing aircraft and ground based medical centres to exchange interactive multimedia data.

The second activity is aimed at dealing with healthcare crisis such as the catastrophic tsunami that hit Asia at the end of 2004. 'Health Early Warning' will gather data and predict the spread of contagious disease.

'Interconnectivity for Healthcare Services and Professional Medical Education bridging Communities in Eastern and Western Europe' focuses on education of medical consultation and healthcare professional. One medical system in an Eastern European country and another in a Western European country will participate.

These projects will be implemented by ESA with the technical assistance of the World Health Organisation, to demonstrate the exploitation of satellite communications in telemedicine and validate the associated sustainability through a user driven approach.

ESA and telemedicine

Since 1996, ESA has supported activities in the challenging domain of Telemedicine. The projects have provided a valuable contribution and allowed identification and exploration of new technical solutions and applications with clear potential of becoming part of future telemedicine practices.

The use of satellite-based Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for telemedicine is currently progressing from the scouting phase towards a more stable and operational profile. Integration into existing healthcare systems and the attainment of self-sustainability is becoming an increasingly essential condition for success.

The three ITTs have been issued based on the recommendations of the Telemedicine Working Group, which, in December 2004, identified five purely medical areas where satellite technology could play a significant role:

  • management of emergencies, disasters and trauma
  • mobility of patients
  • health early warning systems
  • healthcare at home
  • eHealth education

The ITTs are to demonstrate the exploitation of satellite communications in telemedicine and validate the associated sustainability through a user driven approach. The ultimate goal of this action is to pave the way for a European Telemedicine via Satellite Programme of direct benefit to the health community.

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