November 15-21, 2013
Patients who undergo inter-hospital transfer experience increased relative mortality, ranging from 10 to 100% higher than non-transferred patients. The high-cost, increased risk of complications and poor outcomes of transferred patients warrant the critical examination of potential causes. One of the major causes may be the external stressors that patients are exposed to during medical transport. To realize simultaneous measurements of external stressors, we developed a multi-sensor unit for measuring vibration, noise, ambient temperature, and barometric pressure. For preliminary evaluation, the sensor unit was tested on 29 medical transports, 11 air transports by a helicopter and 18 ground missions by an ambulance. The average whole-body vibration for each air and ground transport was calculated at 0.3510m/s2 and 0.5871m/s2 respectively. Air transports produced much higher level of noise than the ground transports. We found no significant difference between two modes in terms of average temperature and the temperature changes. Barometric pressure drops significantly during air transport, indicating potential use of this data for automatic mode classification.