Market and Regulatory Study for Telemedicine via Satellite

Status date

The aim of this study is to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the market potential for telemedicine services using satellite with identification of opportunities and threats and specific insight on the regulatory barriers.

This last years several trials and pilot projects showed that satellite offers an appropriate and favourable solution for a lot of telemedicine applications and services, such as:

  • Broadband / Highly Interactive Applications;
  • Emergency Consultation;
  • Teleconsultation;
  • Clinical Research; - Access to Patient Multimedia Data Base;
  • e-Learning and Continuing Medical Education.

Satellite technologies and telecommunications have capabilities that satisfy the specific communication requirements of a telemedicine network such as ubiquity and distance independence, easy deployment, immediate connectivity, interactivity, adequate bitrate, security, etc.

However, the commercialisation of the telemedicine services has not yet reached maturity. A number of important issues such as absence of a specific regulatory framework, lack of common standards and norms etc. are still hindering the commercialisation process of tele-medicine services. As a result, a potentially large market (in Europe only, there are around 800,000 doctors, 160,000 dentists, 200,000 pharmacies and 25,000 hospitals) has not yet fostered telemedicine as a new method of work.

This study is aiming at providing a clear understanding of the potential telemedicine via satellite business development by: identifying the more relevant services and applications, analysing and modelling the service value chains, performing market assessment and costs analysis to evaluate the competitiveness of the satellite solutions as regards alternative means and the added-value of telemedicine services as regards traditional health care models, identifying the regulatory frameworks and potential barriers, etc.


The key issues addressed in the study are:

  • The identification of the main domains where satellite communications can bring added-value to telemedicine services;
  • The measurement of the market size and of the opportunities for existing and potential telemedicine services using satellite communications;
  • The competitiveness of satellite solutions compare to others;
  • The modelling of the end-to-end telemedicine services value chains by identification of the main actors and organisational structure of the services;
  • The analysis of the different scenario for roll-out of such services
  • The assessment of regulatory issues and potential barriers to telemedicine services implementation.

On one hand this study is expected to give a clear picture on the telemedicine services and applications that could gain real benefit from using satellite technologies not only on the technical side but also on the economical and organisational side.

On the other hand it will show satellite industries and operators of ESA member states what are the potential opportunities in term of business development of the telemedicine services using satellite. It will thus help decisions makers to realise what directions should be privileged in the future to ensure that satellite and telemedicine developments matched together to provide sustainable and useful services for the citizens and the health communities.


Not applicable.


The study is divided in 4 main activities:


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Task 1: Summary review of telemedicine technology, applications and services.

  • The main objective of this task is to make an assessment of the current situation as regards the telemedicine market. It will consist of a review and categorisation of the main technologies, applications, services, projects and key actors currently happening in the telemedicine market focusing on the services that are operational and or in maturation;
  • It will conduct to the selection of a number of representative applications and services that will serve as basis (case studies) for the modelling of the telemedicine value chains and for the definition of the scope of the business, market and regulatory analysis.

Task 2: Modelling of the telemedicine service value chain:

  • The main objective of this task will be to identify the main components and major players' role of the telemedicine services and to model the service value chains. This work will be carried out for each of the case studies identified in WP1
  • This task will conduct to a comparative analysis between telemedicine and traditional healthcare with respect to costs structure, operations & organisation;

Task 3: Market analysis:

  • The main objective of this task is to conduct a detailed analysis of the market opportunities for each of the case studies identified in WP1 and to understand where stand the competitive assets of satcom-based telemedicine services (compared to terrestrial solutions for example).
  • It will conduct to an assessment of the overall market potential for telemedicine services using satellite and to present different up-take scenarios.

Task 4: Review of the regulatory aspects:

  • The main objective of this task is to identify the potential legal and regulatory problems associated with the telemedicine business implementation and to provide a clear view on the impact of the regulatory barriers to the telemedicine via satellite markets take-up.
Current status

The study was completed in March 2006 and the final presentation will take place shortly.