In Virginia, a technology designed to treat injured warfighters on the battlefield is proving its worth to civilian emergency-response teams. The sensor-laden Wireless Vital Signs Monitor tracks critical health information like heart rate, pulse and blood pressure. Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, it weighs less than a pound and can be carried easily into combat zones or mass-casualty emergency situations.
The device is strapped to a patient’s arm and transmits data wirelessly via a specialized software app to a tablet or smart phone, which is handled by attending medical personnel such as Navy corpsmen.
Through complex software algorithms, the WVSM analyzes patient data; determines if someone is in stable or worsening condition; and calculates the need for life-saving interventions such as surgery or blood transfusions. This differs from traditional vital signs monitors, which provide basic health information but can’t predict if someone’s medical condition is about to deteriorate.