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Hot new EMS products for 2013

Improving the basics, and improving our safety

There is some great new technology we will soon see in EMS. Several of these new products are real game-changers.

One is the new AIRBEAR from BEAR-iatric, Inc. This innovative product helps make moving aeromedical bariatric patients more comfortable and manageable. 

The original BEAR works on a most ambulance stretchers. The AIRBEAR does the same thing on a narrow helicopter cot mattress. It moves the abdominal mass into the midline and keeps it from shifting around. It is called an equalizing abdominal restraint. I have heard reports of big patients being moved through some tight spots using it.

Photo courtesy BEAR-iatrics

The new AIRBEAR was designed with the help of one of the best flight services in the country. It has a few features the regular BEAR does not. It can also prevent vertical shifting in the event of sudden autorotation.

It helps helicopter EMS providers much more easily manage and protect heavier patients. Flight services are contending with obese patients more often.

One of its best features is how it better preserves patient dignity by keeping them covered up. Often sheets don't even cover some patients.
It just became commercially available. 

Infrascanner 2000
The new Infrascanner Model 2000 will be an exciting new technology for 2013. The Infracanner Model 2000 was developed in cooperation with the US Marines. It is a compact handheld device for detection of life-threatening bleeding in the skull called intracranial hematomas. It uses near-infrared (NIR) technology to screen patients for intracranial bleeding.

NIR light can penetrate tissue and bone several centimeters deep into the skull. The scanner detects differences in light absorption and transmits the information wirelessly to an easy to read visual display.

The Infracanner Model 2000 is powered either by a rechargeable NiMH battery pack or by 4 disposable AA batteries. It also incorporates a new disposable probe cover.

Photo Infrascan

It can detect hematomas larger than 3.5 cm up to 3.5cm from the skin surface. It does this with an accuracy of 88% sensitivity and 90.7% specificity. In only 2-3 minutes it can identify those who would most benefit from an immediate CT scan and neurosurgical intervention. 1.7 million people in the United States experience a traumatic brain injury each year.

Patients with suspected brain injuries routinely receive a CT scan. This portable screening device offers Paramedics a non-invasive mechanism to aid in assessing whether an immediate CT scan is needed.

The Infrascanner 2000 is not a replacement for a CT scan, but it may well be the next best thing. EMT's and Paramedics could see who really needs a neurosurgeon right now. It would help them make selecting the most appropriate hospital transport destination a life saving decision.

It is also currently being studied for potential stroke applications by a leading EMS agency in cooperation with a stroke center. If the Infrascanner 2000 could screen CVA's, destination selection and early notification would really become important.

For more information and to follow further developments, check out Infrascan or the civilian distributor of the Infracanner Model 200, MedLogic, LLC .

B2 Paramedic Helmet
Also coming in February 2013 will be the new B2 Paramedic Helmet. On full disclosure, this is my project. 

I have worked for many years to develop better head protection for EMS. Medics die of head injuries in the back of an ambulance in MVA's. Most ambulances don't have air bags in the back or forward facing seats. We ask the rear attendant to buckle up, but in many current ambulances they can't always do it. That is when a sudden impact becomes deadly, throwing EMS providers into cabinets and bulkheads.

Photo B2 Helmets

Whenever possible, EMS safety equipment should meet a motor vehicle safety standard. We should base our decisions on sound safety science.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission published a guide Which Helmet for Which Activity. They advised that for use in Large Wheeled Motor Vehicle, the FMVSS218 or Snell Standard should be selected. Of these, only the FMVSS218 can be practically adapted for EMS use.

The automotive safety professionals at Bell Racing took on the engineering challenge. The objective was to develop a thin, lightweight helmet that meets a motor vehicle safety standard. They created a new company called B2 Helmets to serve the EMS community with high quality head protection. Their first solution is the B2 Paramedic Helmet, Model EMT-1. 

The B2 Paramedic Helmet is available in multiple shell sizes to provide a low profile. It does not stick very far out away from your head. This is important to prevent bumping into the ceiling all the time and when working in confined spaces. Each helmet comes with different thickness head pads for a near custom fit.

It has a 3mm double curved polycarbonate visor with a nose cutout. The visor can be worn over regular prescription glasses and is compatible with respiratory protection. It rides close to the shell when raised, without being in the head strike zone. The quick-release padded chinstrap and suspension system permits use of communication equipment. 

The outer shell is a strong Kevlar/Carbon fiber composite, and the liner technology is the same technology as the F1 racing helmet. It will offer Paramedics lightweight and comfortable head protection. It has the features EMS providers need and the level of protection they deserve. For more information contact me me ;or see the Arasan website.

One last new product for 2013 is the latest version of the ClearCollar. This version is adjustable and offers some new unique features for EMS.

The first and most obvious is that you can see through it. Looking through an anterior hole is not the same thing as looking through the collar. The Adjustable ClearCollar offers constant observation of the neck. Particularly when airway compromise is present, the ClearCollar will afford a whole new level of direct observation.

Photo ClearCollar

Even better, it now has two separate anterior locking mechanisms. This offers three big advantages, with the first one being that it is very secure, quite frankly. Second, you don't have to settle for a narrow range of specific locking detents. With most C-Collars, you have a limited choice of potential size adjustments. With the ClearCollar the size range is virtually infinite. 

Last, you can more easily fit it to the patient's position of comfort. One of the oldest splinting principles is immobilizing a patient in position found. If a patient is holding his or her own neck at an angle, being able to affix it that way is a huge advantage. With the new dual locks, you can even lock the front in a twisted position. Normally, this is only possible with a two-piece collar.

One last thing: I really like are the cushion pads. They are seamless air filled bladders. I know we probably shouldn't re-use disposable collars, but many still do. You really cannot get a foam-padded collar clean. I think you could wipe this collar off with a disinfectant wipe and use it again safely if it was not blood contaminated.

The Clear Collar is also the only EMS collar I know of made right here in the USA. 

These are just four new EMS products you can look forward to in 2013. EMS manufacturers have created new technologies and products that can make delivering EMS, easier, better, and safer. I am looking forward to seeing their positive impact on the quality of care we can deliver. If we focus on provider safety and patient safety we can help those we serve and protect our most valuable resource — us.

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