Hoboken, NJ, March 01, 2010 --(PR.com
)-- A multi-disciplinary team of Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering seniors at Stevens Institute of Technology are finalists in the 2010 CIMIT Prize for Primary Healthcare Competition. Pete Backeris, dual major and team member, coordinated the BME and ECE teams to submit a proposal for the Digital Triage Assistant (DTA) project to the Center for Integration of Medicine & Innovative Technology (CIMIT) prize competition, which has resulted in an award of $10,000 to develop a final proposal along with the chance to win a grand prize of $150,000. The DTA team aims to modernize the triage process and streamline emergency room efficiency.
The DTA team: Cameron Abt; Glenn Shevach; Pete Backeris; Szymon Butryn; Raza Husain; Vaida Jakimaviciute; Malika Bhargava; Rosemary Garofalo; and Leticia Ennist, is advised by Professors Vikki Hazelwood and Bruce McNair. Their clinical advisor is Dr. Robin Stutman, a sub-specialist who works in ER's and helped identify an unmet need in the hospital triage process.
Triage is the process of prioritizing and sorting patients based on the severity of their condition and coordinating patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for all to be treated immediately. Dr. Stutman led the team in active hospital visits where they identified that the triage process could be optimized. “We visited a wide range of hospitals in order to build an accurate picture of the triage process,” said Raza Husain. “Our trips, which included the Bellevue Hospital Center and VA Hospital in New York, gave us critical real world scenarios to plan for during development.”
When a patient enters a hospital waiting room, the triage process determines who gets seen by the medical staff first. Typically, this involves getting vital patient data such as heart rate; respiration rate; blood pressure; body temperature and peripheral oxygen saturation and more. Information must also be cross referenced with patient histories and verbal assessments. What the DTA team learned on these visits was that there was room for improvement and developing a method to streamline the process would be extremely beneficial for patients and the medical staff who treat them.
Logistic challenges were among the initial issues that the DTA team had to solve. According to Rosemary Garofalo, “One of our priorities was establishing a set schedule that would allow us ample time to collaborate. These team meetings have made it possible not only to provide individual inputs on our own areas of expertise, but also to suggest alternate viewpoints and big-picture perspective while learning from each other.”
The teams product solution is the development of a device that records vital signs and transmits them via Bluetooth, to a Personal Data Assistant that can interface with databases of patient history.
Primarily intended to benefit hospitals and emergency clinics, this research also has the potential to provide key advancements to existing ambulance technology, military or disaster situations and even to athletic events such as marathons, where volunteer medical tents are subject to extremely high volumes.
Preliminary concepts have been “bench tested” and proven successful. In practice a triage nurse or technician can automatically receive vital sign information at a workstation, view it, and print it for placement in the patient’s file. This information can also be displayed on terminals throughout rooms in the Emergency Department by scanning the patient’s wristband.
The DTA team makes this possible by combining Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) components with proprietary designs into a device capable of recording all five vital signs via a microcontroller-based acquisition device (DAQ) that communicates with a PDA through a Bluetooth serial connection. They have also developed a touchscreen-based Windows application that allows for an easy to read format. Finally, a wristband barcode system was integrated by using a scanner attached to the PDA to read barcode ID wristbands which are linked to a patient’s records in the hospital database.
The DTA team at Stevens will be competing against universities such as Johns Hopkins, Cornell, MIT, University of Wisconsin Madison, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of California Berkeley and Northeastern in pursuit of a top prize of $150,000. Second and Third place receive $100,000 and $50,000, respectively.
Please visit http://www.stevens.edu/provost/oaca/ for more information.
About Stevens Institute of Technology
Stevens Institute of Technology, founded 140 years ago in 1870, is a premier technological university dedicated to research & entrepreneurship. Stevens offers baccalaureates, master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering, science, computer science and management, in addition to a baccalaureate degree in the humanities and liberal arts, and in business and technology. Stevens research is focused on key areas including Nanotechnology & Multi-scale Systems, Secure Systems and Systems Engineering & Enterprise Management, and is poised to lead innovation in global challenges in engineering, environmental concerns, science and technology management. For more information please visit www.stevens.edu.