European Space Agency

HPS in Surgery


The Healthtrack Professional Service (HPS) is a satellite based broadband network connecting medical General Practitioners (GPs), hospital consultants and pharmacies with the pharmaceutical industry and other service providers in the sector.

The service will provide a high-speed channel for the parties to send and receive large quantities of rich media information in the form of text, pictures, video and interactive educational packages.

The HPS will be a delivery service that utilises the concept and technical possibilities of satellite communications equipment installed in GPs offices throughout the UK.

The satellite system allows broadcasts to be received by individual sites with a back channel communication capability, through a VSAT return channel.

This platform is planned to ultimately meet many of the information network needs of health care professionals and provides both future proofing and product evolution for further application developments.

The pilot HPS will include the follow services:

  • Remote learning and training.

  • Infomercials/e-detailing.

Later offerings may include:

  • Telemedicine.

  • Electronic prescriptions.

  • Pharmaceutical research data gathering.

  • Proprietary information network for GP communities.


The principle challenges to be addressed during this project are:

  • Providing high quality real-time video and audio streams, for live training sessions

  • Designing and implementing an easy to use low cost browser application for the HPS network

  • Establishing the commercial viability of the service.


The Healthtrack Professional Service network will provide high quality medical training direct to the desktop of GPs, and other medical practitioners. The immediacy of the medium will ensure that students will be provided with the most up to date training available. Training delivered in this manner is more cost effective than classroom based training, and has less impact on the financial and time resources of the GP.


The HPS network combines and extends two related systems, the Life Channel, and Multimed. The Life Channel is a satellite based television information service for medical General Practitioner (GP) waiting rooms, which is currently contracted to over 1600 group practices in the UK. Multimed was developed as an ESA ARTES 3 supported project to provide real-time streaming video training sessions directly from the Bristol Medical Simulation Centre (BMSC) to users throughout Europe. It also has the ability to deliver packaged training courses which users can execute when convenient.

The amalgamation of these two services produces the basic product of the HPS network. These services will be extended by providing training and medical product data direct to GPs using the HPS infrastructure.

The diagram below illustrates the deployment of the HPS network, a closed private intranet for medical professionals.

The HPS network is designed to take advantage of several web based and streaming media technologies. Much of the architecture is built around Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows Media.

The static content of the HPS network is housed on the Master Server, which also provides authentication for users of the network and is the portal for all services deployed via the network.

The Streamed Content Generator and the Streaming Server provide high quality live video and audio streams di


TDuring the pilot development phase, the HPS system will be deployed at ten pilot GP surgeries. These are of varying size and will ensure that the system is exposed to around 50 GPs throughout the pilot phase.

The project milestones currently planned are:

  • Kick-off in November 2001.

  • Baseline Design Review in December 2001.

  • Mid-term Review February/March 2002.

  • Final review July 2002.

Current status

The pilot operations for the HPS project have now effectively ended. Healthtrack Media Limited are currently polling the views of the pilots sites as to the effectiveness of the HPS network. This information will be collated and presented as part of the final review to be held at the end of October 2002.

Status date

Thursday, June 19, 2008 - 17:43