|Project Lead||Anna Mankee-Williams|
|Start Date||May 2020|
|End Date||December 2021|
|Programme Alignment||Design for Health and Wellbeing|
The project will deliver a secure satellite connected infrastructure between primary and secondary care and service users in rural communities. Through this 4e – health applications to the clinical areas of mental health, diabetes and clinical education enabling delivery through primary care and community settings - will be developed. The project will implement a "Test and Learn" approach and evaluate the potential clinical and commercial value of a secure satellite connected infrastructure in improving quality, accessibility and efficiency within the health sector.
Cornwall and Scotland (and other rural parts of the world) have dark spots across the areas with no connection, or NHS services with only minimal/overloaded bandwidth. This lack of connectivity has an impact on the pace, adaptation to, and adoption of technology and the digital transformation in health care.
Despite both significant previous investment and planned investment in terrestrial network capability and accessibility, areas affected by sparsely populated and rural areas continue, and will continue, to have connectivity challenges in the near and medium term, contributing to an increasing digital divide in rural marginalised communities.
This project asks if satellite connectivity is possible, feasible, usable and adequate for the delivery of mental health care, diabetes care and clinical education in remote communities.
Anna Mankee-Williams - Project lead
Anna is a Senior Research Fellow for Innovation and Technology in Health and Care. She has 22 years' experience in the health sector (RGN, RM, RHV,) Specialist Community Practitioner/Practice Educator, Public Health children's lead and 11 years' experience in Local Government. Anna has been with Falmouth University and the South West Centre of Excellence Satellite Applications Catapult for since 2016. Her research focuses on Design Thinking approaches that address challenges presented within the health and care eco-system.
The Connected Health Care project has partnered with:
- NHS England
- NHS Scotland
- NHS Highland
- Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
- Goonhilly Earth Station
- Kernow Health
- Satelite Applications Catapult
- Falmouth University
- University of Aberdeen
- University of the Highlands and Islands
This projects has been supported by grant funding from the following funding bodies:
European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) supports the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.
UK Space Agency
The UK Space Agency are responsible for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme and provide a clear, single voice for UK space ambitions.
Outcomes & outputs
The Connected Health Care Project is innovative in bringing together satellite communications, intelligent routing and delay tolerant networking within the infrastructure and applying it to the health care sector. Bringing together experts in both health and space technology creates a unique partnership to improve infrastructure and network security for a specific sector. Whilst the individual technologies have been proven, they have not previously been integrated for use in the health care sector. The simplicity of the user interface will encourage uptake and use without the users needing to know or understand the technology enabling it.
The forecast impact of the Connected Health Care Project is to better connect primary and secondary care and service users in rural communities by optimising satellite technology and network security.
Impact & recognition
The pilot-demonstration service activities will be based on the following undertakings:
- Six months of validation in Cornwall (three GP practices)
- Six months of validation in Scotland (three GP practices)
- Validation accompanied and followed by impact and economic viability assessment.
The space asset(s) used in the pilot-demonstration include:
- Telesat satellite bandwidth,
- GES ground infrastructure
- iDirect user terminals for connectivity
The success criteria / goals to be achieved during the pilot-demonstration to gain customer commitment are:
- Connectivity and level the field: provide connectivity to at least three health care hubs with limited or no connectivity
- Security: Network service solution in line with NHS standards/requirements (e.g., accredited via Cyber Essentials)
- Resilience: Achieve more than 99% availability
- Uptake: Achieve commitment from at least three pilot users for continuing usage
The research and evaluation for the system and service performance during the pilot-demonstration include:
- Assess improvement of connectivity and intelligent routing
- Assess integration with e-health applications
- Assess impact on customers and users
Meet the women bridging the digital divide
The Connected Health Care project seeks to provide a digital infrastructure for primary care, secondary care and service users in rural communities via secure satellite connections. The innovative project is led by Senior Research Fellow Anna Mankee-Williams.
Twelve of Anna’s fifteen team members are women, all with varied backgrounds, skillsets and life experiences. Between them, they have experience working in geophysics, volcanology, neuroscience, healthcare and the charity sector. Here are some of the women who’ve joined forces to fight for digital equality and a more accessible NHS.