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Smart bench for ambulances

Country of Origin: Spain
Reference Number: TOES20180705001
Publication Date: 6 July 2018

Summary

A Spanish university has developed a smart bench for prehospital emergencies medical vehicles, ambulances and/or helicopters, that together with the current usual functionalities, works as a digital scale showing the real weight of the patient. In this way, the initial therapeutic care of critical patients is favoured, reducing the undesirable side effects by estimating the doses of drugs/fluids. Companies manufacturing benches for ambulances interested in licensing agreements are sought.

Description

Currently, critical patients transport in the passenger compartment of ambulances is performed on a stretcher housed in a platform, located on the floor of the vehicle. These are longitudinal structures that facilitate the stretcher anchoring in the chassis of the sanitary vehicle to prevent movement during the transport. In addition, they have other functionalities such as allowing lateral movement, to facilitate the mobility of health professionals around the patient, as well as the possibility of placing the patient in different therapeutic positions (e.g., Fowler, Trendelenburg, etc.) and different height to perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures on the patient. These actuals functions are supported on a hydraulic and electrical system. The characteristics of these structures must comply with the regulations in force.

On the other hand, the culture on clinical safety to decrease the risk of adverse events is currently being developed in prehospital medical emergency services. For this reason, different devices are being implemented to improve patient safety in this field.

Nowadays, health professionals make a subjective estimation of the patient’s weight, and a wide range of undesirable effects can appear as a result of the error in the calculated dose depending on this data.

Therefore, there exists the need to know the exact weight of the patient to eliminate or minimize the error in the calculation of the doses of drugs and fluid therapy used in the stabilization of critical patients, both paediatric and adult, as well as parameters of mechanic ventilation and amount of joules of energy to administer in defibrillation in children during a cardiac arrest.

In this sense, a Spanish university has designed a platform for ambulances with the function of an electronic scale that, in addition to their current functions, provides the exact value of the patient's weight, in real time, facilitating the calculation of the precise doses of drugs, fluids, etc.

The sensors are digital load cells that calculate the exact weight of the patient in a range of weights from 3 to 300 kilograms for paediatric to adult, excluding neonates and neonatal transported in an incubator. The cells are arranged parallel to each other along the lower side bars of the platform.

A digital transmitter interconnects the sensors with each other. It could be connected to a digital screen or an electronic device with its own software. The design of the electronic device can incorporate two versions of the screen that show the parameters calculated for each patient:

• Basic design: Bench with digital scale function, LED light display incorporated in the side of the platform and wire connection to the digital transmitter.
• Advanced design: Bench with digital scale function, connected via Bluetooth to a mobile device with touch screen and integrated software showing the exact dose of drugs, fluids or other parameters, according to the weight of the patient.

The device complies with Spanish and European legal requirements in relation to the sanitary equipment of the medical vehicles, both ambulances and helicopters, according with the European Directive and Spanish Law:

• Royal Decree 22/2014 related to the technical characteristics, the sanitary equipment and the endowment of personnel of the vehicles of sanitary transport by road.
• European Directive UNE-EN 1789:2007+A2:2015. Together with homologation technical requirements as a medical device.
• DIRECTIVE 2007/47/CE.

Companies (specially, manufacturers of benches) interested in acquiring this technology for commercial exploitation through patent licensing agreements are sought. The company should be responsible for the development of the prototype, the validation of the technology, its manufacture and its introduction into the market.

Advantages and Innovations

The main innovative aspect of this invention is the incorporation of a new functionality in the form of an electronic scale for ambulance benches that would allow the exact calculation of the doses of drugs, fluids and other parameters to be administered to critical patients according to their weight.

Basically, the great advantage of this new design of platform for ambulances is the exact and automated calculation of doses and parameters according to the real weight of the patient, such us:

• Dose of drugs and dilutions (for example: calculation of fibrinolytics, calculation of antidotes, dose of inotropic drugs, doses of drugs in rapid sequence of intubation, analgesics, corticosteroids, etc.).
• Dose of fluids (for example, the Parkland formula in burned patients, hypertonic saline fluid, Mannitol fluid, etc.).
• Parameters for invasive mechanical ventilation.
• The energy in joules to be administered to children, in cardiac arrest.

In addition, the device could be easily implemented into an existing element within the ambulance, letting the sanitary staff to obtain an objective knowledge of the patient’s weight.

Stage Of Development

Under development/lab tested

Stage Of Development Comment

This smart bench for ambulances is in the development phase/design. Both, the manufacture of a prototype and its homologation are currently in process.

Requested partner

- Type of partner sought: Companies
- Specific area of activity of the partner: Manufacturer of benches for ambulances or air ambulances
- Task to be performed:
• Development of the prototype and validation of the technology in collaboration with the research group.
• Manufacturing of the bench.
• Introduction into the market.

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