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The Trauma Patient Tracking System: implementing a wireless monitoring infrastructure for emergency response.

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Department of Functional Imaging, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720.


In mass trauma situations, emergency personnel are challenged with the task of prioritizing the care of many injured victims. We propose a trauma patient tracking system (TPTS) where first-responders tag all patients with a wireless monitoring device that continuously reports the location of each patient. The system can be used not only to prioritize patient care, but also to determine the time taken for each patient to receive treatment. This is important in training emergency personnel and in identifying bottlenecks in the disaster response process. In situations where biochemical agents are involved, a TPTS may be employed to determine sites of cross-contamination. In order to track patient location in both outdoor and indoor environments, we employ both Global Positioning System (GPS) and Television/ Radio Frequency (TVRF) technologies. Each patient tag employs IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi)/TCP/IP networking to communicate with a central server via any available Wi-Fi basestation. A key component to increase TPTS fault-tolerance is a mobile Wi-Fi basestation that employs redundant Internet connectivity to ensure that tags at the disaster scene can send information to the central server even when local infrastructure is unavailable for use. We demonstrate the robustness of the system in tracking multiple patients in a simulated trauma situation in an urban environment.

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