Wireless for Medical Response in Disasters


Project: Wireless Internet Information System for Medical Response in Disasters (WIISARD)
PI: Leslie Lenert, School of Medicine Division: UCSD
Corporate Partners: Verizon Wireless, QUALCOMM, Ericsson, SAIC
Military Partners: SPAWAR (U.S. Navy)
Community Partners: Local fire departments and emergency medical responders, County of San Diego Office of Public Health
Funding: National Library of Medicine, NIH


Natural disasters and terrorist actions involving nuclear, biological, and chemical agents could produce large numbers of civilian casualties that would overwhelm existing healthcare facilities and capabilities, jeopardizing the lives of victims and healthcare providers alike. To address this situation, Calit2 researchers are developing the Wireless Internet Information System for Medical Response in Disasters (WIISARD). WIISARD is designed to be deployed at the site of a weapons-of-mass-destruction (WMD) 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.

WIISARD is an integrated application that will bring cutting-edge wireless Internet technologies from the hospital to the field treatment station to address life-threatening medical conditions. It has components that enhance the situational awareness of first responders, facilitate recording of medical data, aid in monitoring of severely ill patients, and facilitate communication of data to hospitals. The prototype system will undergo evaluation through a three-year grant period, beginning with controlled studies of individual components and culminating with a randomized trial conducted during a simulated WMD attack.

"Verizon is deploying QUALCOMM's high-bandwidth 1xEV-DO wireless Internet technologies in San Diego the fall of 2003," says PI Leslie Lenert, "which will enable our team to experiment with technologies that will become widely available throughout the U.S. and could be used to support disaster medical care. Calit2 has already demonstrated the usefulness of this technology by applying it to the UCSD CyberShuttle and a cyber ambulance scenario."

WIISARD will also serve as a living laboratory in which to study computing and networking issues arising in the field care of disaster victims, including the application of wireless, nomadic, geographic information system, and self-optimizing end-to-end network-aware, real-time technologies. The team includes academic researchers, industrial and military partners, and frontline providers of healthcare services in disasters, including representatives from local fire departments, emergency medical services, and the County of San Diego Office of Public Health.

Leslie Lenert, (858)552-8585, x2959,