ViaSat is working with The University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Rural Health, NHS Highland and the Scottish Ambulance Service on a pilot program called SatCare, which will enable paramedics to send high-resolution video and ultrasound images from connected ambulances to hospital-based medical experts, ahead of a patient’s hospital arrival. The connected ambulances will utilise ViaSat’s advanced satellite communications system, operating on its jointly-owned KA-SAT high throughput satellite network.
The one-year SatCare trial, partly-funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), aims to help approximately 1,000 patients living in remote and rural Scotland. The goal is to provide better patient care on long ambulance journeys, as well as provide more streamlined care upon hospital arrival, such as immediate transfer to an operating theatre.
As part of the pilot, five Scottish ambulances have been equipped with state-of-the-art scanning equipment and ViaSat’s satellite broadband communications system. Scans that take a paramedic less than 5 minutes to record and package with a video summary of the patient’s condition – will be transmitted in seconds over ViaSat’s satellite system – to the emergency department of Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, Scotland. The hospital experts will then assess the patient’s needs, give medical advice to the paramedic in transit, and mobilise resources or specialist teams required for the patient’s arrival.
The SatCare technology has been successfully tested using healthy volunteers. It will now be put into trial, helping several potentially life-threatening conditions, including: major trauma, chest pain, shortness of breath, abdominal pain and circulatory shock, all of which could benefit from more accurate early diagnosis.