WIISARD Demonstrates Infrastructure Supporting Wireless Medical Records at Disaster Sites

6.19.2005 – The WIISARD project met another milestone last week when 12 team members conducted a successful test to demonstrate seamless interconnectivity among handheld, wirelessly enabled devices. “We were able to demonstrate live, cross-platform distribution of data over multiple cells in an 802.11 network with robust connectivity,” said PI Leslie Lenert. 
Pulse ox device
Pulse oximeter device that records
patients' vital signs in the simulated emergency
David Kirsh entering data
David Kirsh, Cognitive Science department, entering data from text (top) and clinical tag (bottom) into handheld device


PI Lenert (right) with team members
WIISARD PI Leslie Lenert (right) advising
team members Ricky Huang (left and "victim,"
below) and Steve Brown (center) during drill
Rajesh Mishra at command central
Mustafa Arisoylu (left) and Rajesh Mishra (right)
at command central of the drill
in the Calit2 trailer
"Victim" on deck of Calit2 trailer
"Victim" Ricky Huang on deck of Calit2 trailer
 with medical doctor Ted Chan,
UCSD Medical Center,
entering his patient data

The demonstration involved “triaging” about 30 hypothetical victims afflicted in a mass casualty situation using a prototype wireless medical record system developed by the project. The test system consisted of a four-node 802.11 mesh-network, five bar code scanner-equipped WiFi handheld computers and four WiFi tablet computers.

In the test, simulated first responders used the handhelds to scan victims’ triage tags and record physical exam findings while their supervisors remotely monitored their activities using the tablets. As data were entered on handhelds, they were instantly shared throughout the network. Responders using the handheld systems were able to move throughout the mesh network associating the different access points and move from connected to disconnected to reconnected network operations in a seamless fashion without adversely impacting their ability to record and share data. 

In a second test, simulating a catastrophic failure of the network, responders entered data on victims with the network down, storing all data locally on each handheld.  After triaging the victims, the network then was brought back up.  Stored data were successfully retrieved, merged, and distributed throughout the network. 

“To capture the data at one station, enter it, and see it appear instantly on all the others, as the providers moved around the test site, across multiple 802.11 access points, was exciting ,” said Lenert. “With this new system, first responders can move through our network and even out of wireless coverage, as dictated by the need to care for victims, while continuously sharing information across the entire response team. In the event of network failure, responders can still count on this system, because devices maintain high clinical functionality even when temporarily disconnected. This kind of robust connectivity is necessary if we hope to replace paper triage tags at mass casualty sites with electronic medical records.”

WIISARD stands for Wireless Internet Information System for Medical Response in Disasters. It is being designed to be deployed at the site of a weapons-of-mass-destruction attack or natural disaster to support the care of large numbers of victims for a period of hours to days while national medical resources are being marshaled to aid in delivery of definitive care.

Related Links
WIISARD: www.wiisard.org