A project led by National Space Biomedical Research Institute has developed a system that can quickly provide relevant health history of a patient and assist in delivering medical care when the nearest doctor is, well, back on Earth. The package combines Lightweight Trauma Module with the iRevive electronic medical record software.
The LTM, a briefcase-sized device developed by Impact Instrumentation in West Caldwell, N.J., measures vital signs, such as pulse and blood oxygenation, and serves as a ventilator with integrated control systems. The iRevive software, developed by 10Blade, automatically records vital sign data from the LTM and allows the addition of observational data into the patient record. The software, which can run on multiple platforms, will guide caregivers through the observational recording process. The LTM/iRevive system’s record-keeping capabilities will improve patient care in both short- and long-term situations.
“The person providing care after an accident is trying to keep the patient alive,” Crossin said. “Some of the records can be confusing, lost or not include the time a treatment or an observation occurred. A system that automatically records data will reduce errors and the time needed to look up information. This allows a greater focus on providing care. Also, over time, the system allows you to see trends in the captured data.”
The combined system is easy to use. “Generally, the initial emergency care and recording is administered by people who do not have as much training as a doctor,” Crossin said. “We are making an intuitive, easy-to-use system that requires little medical training to understand and use.”
Another benefit of the system is the ability to transmit LTM/iRevive system data to flight surgeons in Mission Control with one keystroke. The instant access to current and historical data will give flight surgeons the ability to quickly assess the situation and provide guidance to the crew. This feature will also be beneficial to health care providers in rural clinics or emergency personnel at an accident scene.
The combined system will also be a great tool for managing limited resources on a spacecraft and in other settings. For example, the system could help medical personnel determine how much oxygen is needed for critically wounded patients being air-lifted out of a war zone to a hospital thousands of miles away. The caregiver could then provide the right amount to each patient and conserve oxygen for future use or possibly allow more patients to be transported on the same flight.
Crossin said the group plans to begin a clinical trial of the combined system in early 2011 on about 40 patients. He added that the LTM/iRevive system has the capability to receive data from other monitoring systems, and future versions will include a step-by-step treatment tool providing information for specific conditions.