Drones for Triage in medical emergencies

Project: Drones for Triage in Medical Emergencies

 

Why this project?

In emergency and disaster medicine, one of the great challenges that health professionals must face is how to prioritize the teams available. The aim is to ensure the greatest good for the greatest number of people. In such chaotic situations, the number of victims that need care are often larger than medical teams available. This forces emergency medical services to change their usual way of working, having to use specific procedures to manage, organize and prioritize the assistance of such a high number of injured people.

One of these procedures is known as triage. Triage is a French word that means to sort, to classify. In the medical emergency field it is used to refer to the procedure that allow classificate the degree of severity of the patients in mass casualty events. In this type of situations, triage is a very valuable tool for health professionals, since it allows identifying those patients who are in a more serious situation to apply over them, the few human and material resources existing in the place.

There are many triage systems that help us in the making-decision process (START, SIEVE, SHORT, SALT, …). But, all these systems have something in common: the emergency professional staff need to be on the ground, in direct contact with the victims.

Complex emergencies (nuclear, radiological, biological, chemical, terrorist attacks, active shooters, suicide bombs) or in areas of difficult access, the application of Triage is challenging since medical teams can be exposed to threats. This delays their arrival and obstruct their work, which can be life-threatening for the victims.

Unmanned Aircrafts (drones) can be very useful in this environment. Its rapid deployment and the zero exposure of personnel to the hostile environment, allows first responders to have essential information about the accident, even before their arrival to the place. In addition, it also allows a remote assessment of casualty number, the patient’s condition and severity of injuries. For example, victims with severe bleeding wounds. Moreover, the latest technology releases, like speakers, allow a proactive interaction of Unmanned Aircrafts in the Triage process. It creates an oral communication channel between patient and healthcare staff remotely without exposing first responders to risk and reducing the response time.

Within this context, this project is a collaboration between professional from Emergency Medical Drone and the research group CuiDsalud from the Univrsity of Jaén.

Objectives

The objetives for this initial stage are:

  • Develop and validate a procedure for remote traige using Unmanned Aircrafts (Aerial Remote Triage System, ARTS) .
  • Test in simulated scenarios its viability and implementation.

Research team

The member of the team are:

  • Cristina Álvarez García. Leader. Lecturer. Nursing  dept. Universidad de Jaén.
    • Grupo CuiDsalud
  • José María López Hens. Physician Medical emergencies. Pilot/ RPAs Advanced operator.
    • Emergency Medical Drone
  • Sixto Cámara Anguita. Nurse Medical emergencies. Pilot/ RPAs Advanced operator.
    • Emergency Medical Drone
  • Inés María Comino Sanz. Researcher in training.
    • Grupo CuiDsalud
  • Nani Granero Moya. Family nurse. Primary care district, Baeza, Jaén.
    • Grupo CuiDsalud
  • María Dolores López Franco. Lecturer. Nursing  dept. Universidad de Jaén.
    • Grupo CuiDsalud
  • Sebastián Sanz Martos. Lecturer. Nursing  dept. Universidad de Jaén.
    • Grupo CuiDsalud
  • Pedro Luis Pancorbo Hidalgo. Professor. Nursing  dept. Universidad de Jaén.
    • Grupo CuiDsalud

Methods

The project is developed in three phases:

  1. Development of an Algorithm for an Aerial Remote Triage System using Unmanned Aircraft.
  2. Validation of the algorithm by a panel of experts.
  3. Implementation of the algorithm in a simulated scenario.

Expected Results

  • Algorithm for an Aerial Remote Triage System using Unmanned Aircraft.
  • Video explaining the algorithm in a simulated scenario.