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Thursday, December 1st, 2022

BARDA, Johns Hopkins to collaborate on medical resource-tracking, communication application

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A new application envisioned by the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) will seek to create a means of effective communication during mass casualty incidents. 

In collaboration, the two organizations will develop the Resource-related Information & Tracking Medical Communications Application (RITCA). The peer-to-peer program will focus on alternative methods for creating reliable situational awareness among decision-makers and their interfacing with first responders in the field during disasters, public health emergencies and more. Meant to be real-time, it will provide access to and process information on the what and where of available medical resources.

To begin, the pilot project will focus on select burn and trauma centers in New England, the South, and others included in Regions 1 through 6 of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR). It will identify which Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) health information data sources are reliable for inclusion in RITCA and work on customizing the tool. If successful for trauma and burn care, the partners would ideally scale it up to become an all-hazard system. 

At the same time, the system will be designed to allow real-time communication between multiple existing government and response systems. It will be assessed for feasibility later, and if it makes the cut, developers could potentially work to incorporate training and telemedicine functionalities as well. 

BARDA and the APL will not work in a vacuum on this, though. As communication is a key component, they will also collaborate with the American Burn Association (ABA), the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the American College of Surgeons/ Committee on Trauma (ACS/COT) to test and ensure the working nature of the system’s interface.