A robust portable device for monitoring vital signs and providing communications for medics developed with the support of ESA offers a lifeline even in the remotest areas on Earth via satcoms.
The Tempus Pro combines the diagnostic facilities found in standard hospital vital signs monitors with extensive two-way communications, packaged in a compact, robust, highly portable unit that can be tailored to user needs.
The unit has been developed by Remote Diagnostic Technologies (RDT) in the UK, with funding from ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems programme.
It has GSM (3G), GPS, wi-fi, bluetooth and ethernet connectivity, and can use available VSAT facilities to exchange voice, video, medical data and GPS positioning.
Various external devices can be connected such as a digital stethoscope, video laryngoscope, contact temperature sensors and electrocardiogram leads and USB ultrasound probe.
Teaming up with International SOS, a leading company for medical and travel security services, meant that RDT could prove the device works in real-life situations, under rugged conditions, over a six-week period in Algeria and Nigeria.
International SOS provides medical and security services for businesses and large organisations through an extensive network of offices across 35 countries, staffed with clinical personnel. They provide direct medical care, supported by a network of assistance centres staffed by doctors, nurses and specialist call handlers.
“Initially, participants were slightly sceptical of the idea of telemedicine,” observed Dr Arnaud Derossi of International SoS. “However, they were quickly won over by the Tempus Pro. By the end of the six-week period, they were extremely positive about the possibilities it offers.
“The key to the unit’s success is that it is a fully functional, hospital-grade vital signs monitor. On top of that, it offers very useful communications facilities.”
International SoS is active typically in locations served by poor roads with security challenges, and medical evacuations by air can be costly and problematic to arrange.
“Often it is simply a matter of a medical practitioner in the field wanting to get a second opinion from a colleague. At times, a remote consult can even save an unnecessary medical evacuation,” added Derossi.