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Patient assessment gets easier with new wireless device

Three-in-one vital signs monitor can send hours of data to a hospital in a matter of seconds

By Erin Hicks
EMS1 Associate Editor

The military seems to always be the first group to use hot new devices — and the WVSM is no exception.

Working in conjunction with medics of several branches of the military, Athena GTX developed the innovative, compact and lightweight vital signs monitor that just became available on the civilian market this summer.

Photo from Athena GTX The WVSM attaches onto a standard blood pressure cuff so it can stay with the patient.
Photo from Athena GTX The WVSM attaches onto a standard blood pressure cuff so it can stay with the patient.

The three-in-one device monitors SpO2, NIBP, and 3-lead ECG.

One of the only devices on the market that is small enough to attach to the patient with a standard blood pressure cuff, the WVSM can record 4.5 hours of trending data with a battery that gets around 8 hours of life without needing a recharge.

Wi-Fi-enabled, the device can send hours of data to any Windows-based computer running the provided software in a matter of seconds.

"It automatically takes all of the measurements without much intervention from EMS", said Greg France, Director of Sales and Marketing. "It's really quick to put on and then people push a button and from that point on it takes all the measurements continuously."

Developers are hoping the WVSM proves to reduce response time. At Houston Hermann Memorial Trauma Center, an 18-month study is evaluating the impact of using the WVSM system on half of their Life Flight transports. The results will compare morbidity and mortality rates, length of stay, and total costs.

The WVSM works well for those on the front line because it's light and small and can be taken to places most monitors can't go. Civilian medics can also benefit from the easy transportability and the versatility of the machine. While the average monitor weighs anywhere from 8 to 12 pounds, the WVSM monitor weighs a little more than one pound.

It's safe for flight and has been approved for use on several different aircraft.

Added bonus: The device is especially useful in situations where multiple patients need treatment. You can view up to 20 patients' vital signs on one computer display, via the units peer-to-peer Wi-Fi networking so there's no need to be hooked up to one central monitoring station.

"The automatic uploading of patient history as well as current vital signs allows the ED staff to make a more informed treatment decision. This is far better than EMS trying to relay critical information to the ED Staff through the noise and ‘activity,'" France said. "ED staff can easily view this data as needed and make a more intelligent decision based off trending without having to run a series of tests which costs both time and money."

The WVSM system is available directly through Athena GTX, and retails for a little more than $5,000. You can obtain more information on the Athena GTX website.

Athena GTX was founded in 2002 upon a history and experience in designing and testing computerized pilot life support systems, many of them groundbreaking and still in use today. Athena strives to create "smart" monitoring systems that integrate wireless technology with reliable, effective devices for both military and civilian use.

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