The members of family K. do not exactly know whether the father is suffering from an apoplectic stroke. All the same, Mrs. K. is certain that in case of a stroke, the first four hours are critical for a successful treatment. Apopletic stroke is one of the main causes of permanent disability. So does she pick up the phone and dials the number 112.
At the central office, her call is taken over. Shortly later, an ambulance takes the road to family K.'s residence. A navigator that has especially been developed for this „multimedia rescue van“ leads the car to the quite remote village. It takes a cut over a well-constructed country lane.
The „multimedia rescue van" is fitted with an on-board equipment of state-of-the-art technology: a central server, cameras, microphones, a loudspeaker and most modern radio technology. The technical centerpiece is the MoPad - a mobile Pad. Once at the family home, the emergency physician takes the mobile Pad from the holder and heads to the patient. The initial diagnosis of the doctor shows a stroke. He enters the data in the MoPad. Immediately, it recommends him a medical specialist whom he can consult, be it per radio or video. The MoPad also tells the emergency medical service which hospital can best take care of the patient. Not every hospital disposes of a specialized stroke unit.
Using state-of-the-art imaging and telematics, the team of rescuers did a good job as fast as possible. No sooner had they finished than they were already on the way to a hospital. The Tonfunk Systementwicklung und Service GmbH, a provider of electronic manufacturing services from Ermsleben in the Harz Region, has played a big part in this. The company with a staff of more than 300 members produces i. a. customer-specific radio systems. „We specialize on tablet computers that may get dirty when being used, for instance during garbage collection, or that can be used in extremely hygienic areas like medical facilities", says René Grzega , CEO of Tonfunk Group.
The company has developed the MoPad for the multimedia rescue van. It is functional even during tough assignments at accident sites and is easy to handle, just like a smartphone or a tablet. Modern medical imaging makes it possible for the medical specialist at the hospital to get an idea of the shortly coming patient before his arrival, thus making treatment measures to be in preparation.
The hospital disposing the specialized stroke department may not be situated in the immediate vicinity, but the modern traffic control system found in the MoPad reduces the travel time of the van. Should it approach an intersection light, the latter would receive a corresponding signal via mobile phone network and turn to green in due time. This is possible thanks to an intelligent box – a technical innovation that was developed at the Institute of Automation and Communication (Institut für Automation und Kommunikation ifak) in Magdeburg and integrated to the set of traffic lights. With this device, says René Hempel from the ifak, a rescue van can generate a green wave for itself. This would reduce the travel time and free the driver from stress as well. „This means that all other road users would have more security“, declares René Hempel. „After all, not everyone becomes aware of an approaching rescue van in due time."
Thanks to the intelligent MoPad, it was possible to take Mr. K. to the right destination quickly and in safety. By means of the registered data, it recognized that the rescue van could still pass under the railroad bridge. And because it knew the symptoms which Mr. K. is suffering from, it could circumvent a road with potholes that would have made the transportation of the patient rough.
Everything has been put in place for the treatment of Mr. K. Meanwhile, the central office is informed through a signal from the MoPad of the availability of the car for other assignments and about its current whereabouts. „That is not the only information that MoPad transmits“, completes the CEO of Tonfunk, Grzega. „It can also provide valuable assistance for fleet management. It gathers data for instance on fuel consumption, the number of kilometers driven and worn-out parts. By so doing, it helps maintain cars efficiently and use them effectively. “
Mr. K. has recovered without any remaining harms. One out of three patients dies within a year as a result of apoplectic stroke, even if they are not carried in the „multimedia rescue van“. Up to now, only the prototype of it is available as the final result of a research project that was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Apart from the Tonfunk Company from Ermsleben, other participants included the SBSK Daten und Informationssysteme – an IT-consultancy firm from Schönebeck – and the system developer for wireless information transfer MALOTTKI from Halle.
Partners from the scientific sector were the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, particularly the Chair for Medical Telematics and the An-Institut ifak. With their practical experience, the Johanniter emergency medical service pushed the project forward. The Ambulanz-Mobile GmbH & Co.KG – a company specialized in the construction of medical vehicles – from Schönebeck built the prototype.
The partners in the research Alliance agree on one thing: whether it is called to help in case of a stroke, heart attack or a serious accident, the „multimedia rescue van“ has good opportunities on the international market. They want to develop the combination of networking, intelligence and innovative technique further to a marketable product.
Autor: Kathrain Graubaum (Text/Photo)
Tonfunk Systementwicklung und Service GmbH
Tel. +49 34743 50982