The Healthtrack Professional Service in Home (HPS in Home) aims to provide professional healthcare services to general practitioners directly to their home. This will be achieved by utilising the Sky Digital TV platform to deliver the service as an interactive television (iTV) application.
The original intention of the project had been to deliver the service as part of the Channel Health free-to-air television program broadcast in the UK. However, during the early part of 2003 Healthtrack Media - the owners of Channel Health - ran into financial difficulties that, ultimately, led to the liquidation and closure of the television channel. This resulted in the project being re-scoped and re-planned. Notwithstanding this the original objectives of the project remain the same; that is to say the provision of health related news, training, e-detailing and associated information relevant to professional medical practitioners delivered via an interactive television channel.
Access to the service will initially be limited to a small group of pilot users, with the aim of evaluating the technical and financial feasibility of such a service.
The HPS in Home service is planned ultimately to meet many of the continuing medical education needs of healthcare professionals and will provide both future proofing and product evolution for further application developments.
Potential service offerings include:
- Remote learning and training.
- Pharmaceutical research data gathering.
- Network of GP communities.
- Information broadcasting, e.g. infomercials/e-detailing.
The principle challenges to be addressed during this project are:
- The development of content suitable for display within the technical constraints of an interactive television platform.
- Define the type of content that will be of interest to end-users.
- Establishing the commercial viability of such a service.
- Define a business model that allows such a service to provided profitably.
The marriage of a well known and easily accessible delivery mechanism (i.e. consumer based television equipment) with professional training material and information broadcasting services provides a rapid and cost effective means of connecting medical general practitioners with the pharmaceutical industry and other service providers in the sector.
The HPS in Home interactive television service will be delivered to the television sets of medical professionals via the Sky digital television system. Access to the service will be controlled via the conditional access systems built into the standard digital set top box (STB) deployed in the UK.
The diagram below presents an architectural overview of the HPS in Home system.
During the pilot phase of the project content will be supplied by the online professional medical network Doctors.net.uk limited. Content provided by the Doctors.net.uk Internet portal will be re-formatted appropriately to ensure that it can be best utilised within the technical constraints of a digital television platform.
Content will be accessed from the digital STB by activating the interactive partition of one of Skys own broadcast channels. Pilot users will be authenticated against their unique Sky card ID held within the HPSiH pilot database. An early prototype of how the HPS portal will be presented to the end-user is shown below.
The original project milestones were as follows:
- Kick-off in August 2002.
- Baseline Design Review in October 2002.
- Mid-term Review December 2002.
The mid-term review was successfully concluded in December 2002 as originally planned. However, the original pilot phase never commenced owing to the liquidation of the prime contractor, Healthtrack Media. During late 2003 the contract was re-negotiated and was eventually re-assigned to ESYS plc (now as the prime contractor). New content partners were found (Doctors.net.uk Ltd) and the pilot service was re-developed with the assistance of Qinteractive Ltd. A new pilot phase of activities was planned to take place during August 2004 with a subsequent final review scheduled to take place in October 2004.
The pilot operations of the HPSiH service completed in September 2004. The final review was concluded in November 2004.