Telemonitoring during the golden hour of patient transportation helps in improved Medicare. Presently there are different physiological data acquisition and transmission systems using cellular network and radio communication links. Location monitoring systems and video transmission systems are also commercially available. The emergency patient transportation systems uniquely require transmission of data pertaining to the patient, vehicle, time of the call, physiological signals like ECG, blood pressure body temperature, blood oxygen saturation, and location information. These requirements are presently met by using separate communication systems for physiological data and location that result in lot of inconvenience to the technicians, maintenance related issues, in addition to being expensive. This project presents design, development and implementation of such a telemonitoring system for emergency patient transportation using visual basic 6.0. This system is found to be very useful for emergency patient transportation being undertaken by organizations like Mater Misericordae Hospital Afikpo.
Background of the Study
Telemonitoring is a medical practice that involves remotely monitoring patients who are not at the same location as the health care provider. In general, a patient will have a number of monitoring devices at home and the result of these devices will be transmitted via a telephone to the health care provider. A Telemonitoring system incorporates innovation technology with in-home, self-monitoring assistances to collect real time updates regarding your loved ones vital signs. The self-monitoring test result are captured and transmitted to a central database that stores the information that can be accessed remotely by the patient, family and their healthcare team. Actions and modifications can be made with the results and can be utilized for on-going care recommendations. General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is a data transfer specification used by the Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) and Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) networks. The GPRS system makes use of the entire coverage area and frequency of its host networks to transmit data packets. Data packets are segments of data sent between computers or network devices. The GPRS system provide subscribers uninterrupted data connection instead of a dial-up connection. Global Positioning System (GPS) is a navigation system for portable devices. It uses a network of satellites surrounding the planet. A compactible device such bas a smartphone or a dedicated navigation device has a built-in receiver chip that picks up regular signals from the satellites. Each signal is time-coded so the device can calculate how far away it is from the satellite based on the time the signal takes to arrive. By combining the distances from at least four satellites, the device can calculate its position to within a few feet. It can also cross-reference this with map data to provide navigation such as driving directions. Emergency patient Transportation is handled with an ambulance which is a vehicle for transportation of sick or injured people to, from or between places of treatment for an illness or injury especially in emergency and I some instance will provide out-of-hospital medical care to the patient.
Mater Misericordiae hospital, Afikpo is a voluntary agency built and opened by catholic bishop of Abakaliki diocese, Late Bishop Thomas Macgettrick in1946 with 24beds which has evolved over the years to 300beds. It is now managed by the Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki under the proprietor, His |Lordship most rev. Dr. Michael Nnachi Okoro, heading the hospital board which supervises and coordinates the activities of the hospital. The hospital stands on 18.5 acres of undulating land leased to her since 1946 by the people of Evuma and Ugwuegu in Afikpo North Local Government Area Ebonyi State. It is situated away from the centre of Afikpo town, but with easy accessible road network. The hospital has a large theatre and most of the latest medical equipments needed to serve you better. Most of these equipments are rarely seen in private hospitals around and even the public ones. It also has ambulances and other buses to facilitate the work in the hospital.
Statement of the Problem
The number of road accidents victims in every busy city like Afikpo(with the presence of a higher institution) can be unimaginable. Immediate medical attention to critically ill patients and accident victims followed by transportation to a well equipped local facility within the golden hour can save many lives. Ambulances are specifically designed to carry emergency drugs and instruments. The inner area of an ambulance is fabricated in such a way that it houses emergency medicine, sterilizer, stretcher and so forth. The personnel inside the ambulances are specially trained to be emergency technicians. There exist a need to augment the skill of such paramedics with the Central Monitoring Station(CNS). The CNS helps in identifying the nearest and appropriate hospital and coordinating with the medical personnel of the hospital.
Objective of the Study
The purpose of this project work is to design and implement a system that cater the specific requirement of acquiring physiological data, keyed-in data, patient snapshot, and voice signals and transmitting them using a cellular network to a Central Monitoring Station that helps in identifying the nearest and appropriate hospital and coordinating with the medical personnel of that hospital. Placing the system in an equipped ambulance that can take vital signs, assess oxygen saturation, monitor blood pressure etc. that will reduce the risk of death involved in Emergency Patient transportation. The aim of this work is to design a data transfer and navigation system into a telemonitoring system for the purpose of facilitating information passage between the operators of the telemonitoring system and ambulance drivers in Mater Misericordiae Hospital for the emergency transportation of patients.
Scope of the Study
The extent to be covered in this project work is limited to the confines of he emergency unit of Mater Misericordiae Hospital Afikpo, which is well equipped with modern day ambulances and equipment, but with more researches in this project topic, it can be used in all hospitals with emergency unit and ambulances to reduce the rate of deaths in emergency situations.
Significance of the Study
Implementation of a GPS and GPRS based telemonitoring system for emergence patient transportation will be of immense benefit to the hospital. The system will assist the hospital achieve the following:
1. Improve the communication between the staff of the ambulance and the central monitoring station records
2. The doctor will understand the physical and physiological condition of the patient better so that right decision regarding administration of drugs and transport destination can be appropriately taken
3. Administrative requirements including the location of the vehicle, patient’s attendance details can easily be retrieved.
Due to the cost of material for implementing the hardware aspect of this project, the researcher was limited by financial and time constraints. So the system developed was a simulation of the GPS and GPRS based telemonitoring system for emergency patients.