A new triage system for complex emergencies using drones

The use of drones in the healthcare field has recently emerged as a promising technology. One of its possible applications is the classification of victims according to priority of care (triage, as it is called in health sciences) in incidents with multiple victims. However, after reviewing existing triage systems, two emergency healthcare professionals, Sixto Cámara-Anguita and José María López-Hens, realised the need to develop a triage system specifically adapted to remote use, as none existed to date. In 2019, they joined forces with the CuiDsalud research group to develop the Project: Drones for Triage in Medical Emergencies. Finally, after contact with numerous national and international experts and small-scale simulations in health emergency scenarios, the remote triage algorithm, called Aerial Remote Triage System, became a reality and was recently published in the journal PLOS ONE.

The Aerial Remote Triage System assesses major bleeding, walking ability, consciousness and other signs of life. With this information it classifies the injured into various priority categories. It includes the ability to indicate life-saving interventions for the injured, such as compression of bleeding injuries or adoption of the lateral recovery position.

This triage system is not intended to replace a ground-based triage system, but can be a useful way to perform triage by drone in complex emergencies when access to the scene is difficult due to physical, chemical or biological hazards.

The full text can be found in: Álvarez-García C, Cámara-Anguita S, López-Hens JM, Granero-Moya N, López-Franco MD, et al. (2021) Development of the Aerial Remote Triage System using drones in mass casualty scenarios: A survey of international experts. PLOS ONE 16(5): e0242947.

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