INESC TEC develops technology for real-time triage of victims in disaster situations
It is a wearable system that takes between 10-15 seconds to be placed on a person, allowing to monitor their vital signs and health severity. The new solution, developed by INESC TEC in collaboration with Xenia Reply and the Institute of Entrepreneurship Development (iED), will allow Emergency Medical Service (EMS) professionals to carry out real-time triage assessments in disaster scenarios – or other situations -, and to monitor victims from the onset until reaching the hospital.
07th September 2023
The technology is being developed within the scope of the European project iProcureSecurity PCP that is composed of a Project Buyers Group, a Lead Procurer Center for Security Studies (KEMEA) and a project coordinator SYNEO GmbH, aiming to finance solutions that are able to improve the response to victims during disaster situations. INESC TEC, together with the Italian company Xenia Reply and the Greek institute iED, submitted a project proposal with a solution that reached the second phase (development phase), focusing on the creation of a solution that aims to support EMS professionals in the real-time triage of people in disaster scenarios.
"The INESC TEC component focuses on monitoring the victim throughout the triage process, from the onset to the hospital. We are using wearable devices developed by INESC TEC, together with an IoT system, which integrates a mobile application and a database on the Institute's server", stated Duarte Dias, also mentioning that this solution allows continuous monitoring, as well as data sharing via a central platform, created by Xenia Reply.
According to the INESC TEC researcher, the wearable system (textile band) can be placed on the victim's leg or arm - a process that takes 10-15 seconds - and it includes an oximeter and an ECG device, connecting to a mobile phone that aggregate vital signs and calculates biomarkers, thanks to a mobile app developed by INESC TEC. By using the app, the emergency medical professionals can monitor the vital signs of different people at the same time. If there is a change in the health severity status of one of the victims, the system generates an alert, allowing professionals to act quickly and change priority levels in the screening process.
"Usually, professionals perform a screening based on a visual analysis, sometimes with a brief measurement of some vital signs. INESC TEC's solution allows the continuous monitoring of the victims, and to automatically assess the health status of people and quickly inform if there is any change", explained Duarte Dias, adding that access to vital data on a continuous basis might lead to the understanding of what can be the best treatment on site or in the hospital – since there is also the intention of sharing data with hospitals and healthcare centres.
The solution is currently in the final stage of development; the plan is to introduce it to several first response teams in the upcoming months - namely medical emergency teams, firefighters or civil protection professionals - so they can test this technology. "At this stage, we will demonstrate the work done so far within the iProcureSecurity consortium, whose end-user participants are distributed in five countries - Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Austria. Later, with a robust, near-finished solution, we will demonstrate it to these end-users, i.e., emergency medical professionals for evaluation and feedback".
Duarte Dias also mentioned that the technology is part of a textile piece developed by INESC TEC in partnership with the company Petratex Confecções S.A. "This project enables us to combine several technologies that we have been developing and put them to practice in an innovative and challenging concept. It also allows us to engage with European partners within the scope of a pre-marketing project", claimed the researcher - emphasising that the ongoing work follows one of the lines of research of INESC TEC Centre for Biomedical Engineering Research (C-BER): Advanced Human Sensing, dedicated to the development of new sensing systems.
"One of the latest systems is the Vitalsticker, which performs vital signs monitoring, and was recently presented at the 7th IEEE Portuguese Meeting on Bioengineering and already published", he concluded. The multidisciplinary team of INESC TEC is led by researcher Duarte Dias, featuring several researchers: Adriana Arrais, Francisco Vieira, João Mendes, Lara Santos, Rojan Aslani, Vítor Minhoto and Prof. João Paulo Cunha.
This is part of the iProcureSecurity PCP project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and innovation Programme.