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Thursday, March 4th, 2021

New device bolsters trauma treatment efforts

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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) researchers have developed a device that enhances the efforts of first responders while treating patients in trauma-induced environments.

The patent-pending VitalTag is a stick-on sensor designed to measure and track a patient’s vital signs to help first responders quickly triage, treat, and transport the injured.

VitalTag detects, monitors and wirelessly transmits blood pressure readings, heart rate, respiration rate and other metrics such as blood oxygen levels, shock index and data from a single-lead electrocardiogram, per officials, adhering to a patient’s sternum while connecting seamlessly via Wi-Fi to securely transmit patient data to a mobile device or laptop in real time.

“First responders told us they need a device to continuously monitor patients in demanding environmental conditions,” Grant Tietje, a former first responder who manages Responder Technology Alliance (RTA) at PNNL, said. “VitalTag provides a wearable, cost-effective health monitoring solution.”

Officials said the device development initiative served as part of the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate RTA project, which is managed by PNNL and advances the development of emerging technologies critical to the responder community.

Researchers said the work involved embedding intelligence into the monitoring devices via development of machine learning algorithms to interact with sensor hardware and an intuitive user interface enabling first responders to do more.

“It is a resource multiplier,” Luke Gosink, PNNL data scientist, said. “Yes, ambulances have these types of equipment, but usually only a few of each. With VitalTag, many more patients can be monitored simultaneously and continuously. More situational awareness, like that achieved with VitalTag, can result in better patient outcomes.”