Advanced technologies and wireless telecommunications enhance care and medical training at the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami

Miami 04 December 2008The William Lehman Injury Research Center (WLIRC), an internationally recognized research facility located at the University of Miami/Jackson Medical Center's Ryder Trauma Center; the United States Army's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC); the Army Trauma Training Center (ATTC); the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) and Qualcomm, through its Wireless Reach initiative, are collaborating to expand the reach and clinical effectiveness of physicians using the InTouch Health, RP-7 robot for trauma care.


For the past year, WLIRC has been working with the United States Army's Trauma Training Center, co-located at Ryder, to study the feasibility of using the robot to support trauma care. This new collaborative effort will build on previous research by demonstrating how trauma specialists can use wireless broadband to remotely operate the robot.

"There is a shortage of specialized trauma physicians", stated Jonathan Linkous, executive director of ATA. "Using the robot and wireless broadband technology represents a potential expansion of care, not only in the United States, but also overseas. The research being conducted at Ryder Trauma Center will help determine the possibilities of these technologies."

The WLIRC will receive an RP-7 robot and specially configured laptops with EV-DO Rev. A wireless cards for enhanced broadband connectivity, through which surgeons can connect to the robot wherever 3G wireless broadband is available. The project enables speciality physicians using the RP-7 robot to actively participate in the delivery of care in the Resuscitation Unit, Operating Rooms and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) from a remote location.

Once connected, the surgeons can autonomously drive the robot to patients' bedsides using controls on the laptops to offer consultation during an emergency, monitor patients and train nurses and residents from their homes, offices or virtually anywhere. The robot's two-way audio-video capabilities will allow the doctors to check vitals, zoom in on the patient and provide advice to attending doctors, nurses or clinicians.

"The Ryder Trauma Center is the only Level I trauma centre in Miami-Dade County for adults and children and it services an area of nearly three million people", stated Jeffrey S. Augenstein, M.D, Ph.D., director of the William Lehman Injury Research Center and principal investigator on the project. "Enabling doctors to instantly connect to the ICU through high-speed wireless technology can help lower the preventable death rate by speeding up the delivery of trauma care during the 'golden hour', the critical 60 minutes after an injury."

"When high-speed wireless technology and connectivity become an integral component of the health care system, critical information from patients will get to doctors more quickly - and vice versa", stated Don Jones, vice president of business development for Qualcomm's health and life sciences group. "This compression of time will contribute to a revolution in the health care industry and we are proud to support this programme through our Wireless Reach initiative."

Another benefit realized during the past year of using the RP-7 is the reduction of bacterial infections spread while physicians conduct their rounds, which is a problem in hospitals where doctors visit approximately 10-15 patients per hour. During this new stage of the project, doctors will examine deeper the use of the robot to conduct grand rounds, maneuvered by the doctor from somewhere else, as a potential solution to help reduce the spread of bacterial infections.

Contributors to the project are providing the means necessary to implement advanced technology in the medical field:

  • The William Lehman Injury Research Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine/Jackson Memorial Hospital Ryder Trauma Center, working with the United States Army's Trauma Training Center, is implementing the project.
  • The Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, a unit within the United States Army Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick, Maryland, is sponsoring the research.
  • The American Telemedicine Association is managing the project.
  • Qualcomm, through its Wireless Reach initiative, is sponsoring the project and providing technical support and consultation.

Telemedicine technology holds promise for enhancing United States-based and military trauma care systems by projecting world-class physicians when and where they are needed. Data indicates that the robot is a useful and safe tool in a civilian trauma setting. Leveraging the power of 3G wireless broadband networks will significantly enhance access to the RP-7 robot and bring about an even higher level of readiness to Miami's trauma system.

The Ryder Trauma Center at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center - one of the world's leading facilities - excels in every aspect of trauma care, saving thousands of lives each year. This world-renowned, state-of-the-art centre is operated by Jackson Memorial Hospital System, in conjunction with the University of Miami Department of Surgery under the Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care Services. Housed in the Ryder Trauma Center is the William Lehman Injury Research Center.

The Ryder Trauma Center is the only certified Level I trauma centre in South Florida for adults and children. The centre is geared toward lowering the preventable death rate by speeding up the delivery of trauma care during the "golden hour", the critical 60 minutes after an injury. Jackson Memorial Hospital sees more than 8000 emergency patients per year - approximately 4000 at the Ryder Trauma Center. Approximately 30 percent of the general admissions result from gunshot wounds, stabbings or falls and 70 percent are the result of blunt trauma, vehicular accidents and various other causes. Children make up approximately 10 percent of all patients seen at the centre.

Since its founding in 1992, the Ryder Trauma Center and its medical staff have developed a worldwide reputation for clinical excellence. Surgical and medical teams from throughout the United States and the Caribbean, as well as from Russia, Japan, England, Italy and France, have visited the 44-story, free-standing, 166.000-square-foot trauma centre to study advanced trauma care.

Today, the Ryder Trauma Center is the centerpiece of Miami-Dade County's trauma care system, offering world-class clinical care to all residents, regardless of ability to pay. As an integral part of Jackson Memorial Hospital - which is operated by the county's Public Health Trust - the Ryder Trauma Center draws upon both the specialized resources of the hospital and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

The Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, a component of the United States Army Medical Research & Materiel Command (USAMRMC) located at Fort Detrick, Maryland, executes a Congressional Special Interest Programme of medical science and engineering technology research that maximizes benefits to military medicine.

The American Telemedicine Association is the leading resource and advocate promoting access to medical care for consumers and health professionals via telecommunications technology. The ATA seeks to bring together diverse groups from traditional medicine, academic medical centres, technology and telecommunications companies, e-health, medical societies, government and others to overcome barriers to the advancement of telemedicine through the professional, ethical and equitable improvement in health care delivery. Established in 1993 as a non-profit organisation and headquartered in Washington, DC, membership in the ATA is open to individuals, companies and other organisations with an interest in promoting the deployment of telemedicine throughout the world.

The United States Army Trauma Training Center (ATTC) supports military medical readiness by training military resuscitative, operative and intensive care teams to provide safe, effective combat casualty care to wounded warriors in dynamic combat environments. Located in Miami, Florida, the Center is home to the Army's Combat Extremity War Surgery Course and participates in team training research through the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital. The Center represents a unique association between military, public and private institutions and leverages broad professional expertise to provide relevant medical training. The Army Trauma Training Center operates under the auspices of the United States Army Medical Department Center and School (AMEDD C&S), Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Qualcomm believes access to advanced wireless voice and data services improves people's lives. Qualcomm's Wireless Reach initiative supports programmes and solutions that bring the benefits of connectivity to developing communities globally. Wireless Reach projects create new ways for people to communicate, learn, access health care and reach global markets. Qualcomm Incorporated is an expert in developing and delivering innovative digital wireless communications products and services based on CDMA and other advanced technologies.

Source: Qualcomm

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