Watch: How UAE satellite can help doctors treat patients before they reach the hospital

Photo by Ryan Lim/Kha
Photo by Ryan Lim/Kha

Dubai - The technology can particularly be used during emergencies while the ambulance is on the move.


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Fri 26 Feb 2021, 5:14 PM

The UAE’s flagship satellite services provider, Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), has developed a telemedicince solution that allows doctors to remotely monitor a patient’s condition in real time before they arrive at the hospital. The technology can particularly be used during emergencies while the ambulance is on the move.

Seif AlKhatri, vice-president for the business unit of YahSat, said the patient’s information is transferred to the hospitals through L-band broadband service using Thuraya satellite. This means the solution can be used by other countries, too, as the Thuraya satellite covers almost three-quarters of the world.

“This is a telemedicine solution, which enables a first-aider to transmit vital information of an injured or a sick person from an ambulance to the doctors in a hospital. The main advantage of this (solution) is the compression of data through a L-band frequency that covers most of the countries in the world. Another advantage is the integration of most of the IP-based tele or medical equipment to transmit the digital data live to the hospital,” AlKhatri told Khaleej Times during the recently concluded International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

This is the first time telemedicine is implemented through the L-band, AlKhatri said. “This is a low-data bandwidth, which helps stream a video, transmit patient data and information while the ambulance is on the move. This is a cost-effective solution.”

The main aspect of the solution is being able to provide data compression and decompression, he added. “Any compatible or an IP-based medical equipment can transfer the live data. IP-based network is the latest communication method between the devices.”

Amid the pandemic, Emirati engineers and an Austrian company developed the solution and integrated it through Thuraya satellite.

YahSat is coordinating with the Abu Dhabi Civil Defence Authority for ambulance service to offer care for the sick, especially in remote areas. AlKhatri said this is their “first cooperation” with the Civil Defence and will involve integration with other entities, like the health authority and the police.

“First, the police will receive a phone call, the ambulance will be dispatched and then the data will go to the health authority or entity which will take care of the patient. In Covid-19 situation, the ambulance going to tend to an infected person, need to build a communication line with a quarantine centre or a specialised hospital. In case of an accident or need a surgery, there will be a need to contact a specialty. So, the different entities need to study different scenarios together.”

AlKhatri said the solution will be operational by the second or the third quarter of the year and can be used by other countries in the world.

“Thuraya satellite covers almost three quarters of the world. So, this is not limited to the geography of the UAE. If the ambulance can cross the border, it can still transmit and offer support. Even in the Gulf waters, if a call for assistance comes from a boat, an ambulance team can go there, they will be able to transmit the data and offer support, depending on the situation, an evacuation is needed, or treatment done on the boat. The feature of a wide coverage will give them an ability to reach everywhere and save lives.”

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