According to MIT’s Technology Review, researchers at Harvard, MIT, and the Brigham are developing a Scalable Medical Alert and Response Technology — SMART.
This system will track patients’ locations and vital signs throughout the hospital. Think of it like a Porta-pack monitor, but less cumbersome and with tracking features.
This way, no matter where the patient is, if something happens, everyone who needs to know can get to the patient pronto:
After two and a half years of development, the SMART team plans to test its prototype system on actual emergency patients at the Brigham this summer. Each monitored patient would get a fanny pack containing a “pocket PC” from Hewlett-Packard (the iPaq h5500), says Dorothy Curtis, research scientist in computer science and artificial intelligence at MIT.
The device receives data from a blood oxygen sensor on the patient’s finger and three electrocardiogram sensors on the chest, then transmits the data via Wi-Fi back to a nurse’s station for monitoring. Software at the station issues an alert if a patient’s condition changes, Curtis says. The iPaq itself runs in “dark” mode, meaning it doesn’t emit beeps or flashes, which might startle the patient.
Also in the fanny pack is a transponder from Sonitor Technologies of Oslo, Norway, that allows the patient to be tracked with ultrasound. The researchers chose not to use radio-frequency tracking transponders primarily because they did not want the tracking signals to travel through walls. With a Sonitor sensor in each room, though, staff immediately know what room a patient is in, Curtis says. “We can’t tell what chair you’re in, but we can tell if you are in the waiting room versus the restroom or offsite, and that’s what we need,” Curtis says.
More from MIT’s SMART site…