TELEMEDICINE AND DEPLOYABLE COMMUNICATIONS
Providing medical care for the human population living outside of municipal areas is an essential part of global healthcare today. Telemedicine, or the distribution of medical care in a remote place while connected in some way to a central medical facility, allows a vast portion of the developing world to receive care from doctors who cannot be physically present with them. The practice of telemedicine ranges from visits performed by psychological professionals to veterans living in rural corners of America to bacterial research and care in the furthest reaches of Sierra Leone. The level of care that professionals are able to provide in historically untreated areas has grown exponentially, thanks to impressive technology, ease of remote travel, and an unprecedented level of social awareness in the global community.
Telemedicine, like everything, comes with its own set of challenges. Apart from the obvious difficulties of a professional administering care without always being physically present, the connectivity component, telemedicine’s defining characteristic, is often costly, unreliable, and difficult to manage. Most telemedicine sites do not have dedicated IT personnel onsite, nor do they have commercial budgets able to support costly, dedicated satellite links. Depending on the need, some groups have technical integration requirements for mobile vehicles and camps, others need connectivity at remote fixed sites, and others need highly portable communications devices for medical professionals traveling in small groups with limited equipment.
Lepton Global Solutions addresses telemedicine concerns for customers with ranging needs, keeping in mind that cost is often the largest obstacle. We leverage a global C- and Ku- network, with options for short-term bandwidth contracts, occasional-use services, and contended networks, to create a network and equipment solution most suitable to customers’ needs and budgets. The flexibility in our offering helps groups like Global Viral, the sister not-for-profit of a microbial threat research company, fight global infectious disease in Sub-Saharan Africa where local network infrastructure is weak. Without a flexible offering, satellite service would be far too costly for a non-profit organization. Lepton provides a guaranteed minimum throughput on a contended network, allowing the group to share bandwidth (and thus costs), but still have a guaranteed data rate. This network also allows for the potential to surge when the other users on the shared network are not active on their portion of the bandwidth.
A Flexibility of this kind will be increasingly important as groups like Global Viral make inroads into increasingly remote places, and as travel capabilities exceed infrastructure growth. Cellular, 3G, and 4G providers are making strong development headway in Africa, but when these types of networks fail during disaster or outages, satellite is the only form of transmission that can keep a hospital or medical facility connected 24×7.