Developing and Operating a System That Enables Real-time Video Distribution of On-site Information to Remote Engineers
Hanshin Expressway Engineering Company Limited is primarily involved in the construction, rebuilding, maintenance, repair, and disaster recovery of expressway facilities in the Hanshin area of Western Japan extending 243.8 km. Using its video distribution technology cultivated through the maintenance and management of expressways, the company developed a real-time medical emergency video distribution system, "Dr. Now", and the Contec BOX Computer is used in the image processing and communications computers of first responder vehicles.
The Hansin Expressway group has businesses involved in medical facility consulting, and there was discussion as to whether real-time video distribution could be provided from medical emergency sites to the medical facilities.
Using its video distribution technology cultivated through the maintenance and management of expressways, Hanshin Expressway Co., Ltd. developed a real-time medical emergency video distribution system called "Dr. Now". As a result, the real-time patient status and observation information can be relayed from the emergency site or ambulance to a medical facility using clear images.
The application at emergency sites was tested starting in December 2009 by the Yokosuka Kyosai Hospital (Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture) and Miura Fire Department (Miura, Kanagawa Prefecture) in Eastern Japan. The system received wide acclaim, and the hospital continues testing operations along with Kure Kyosai Hospital and Kure Fire Department in Kure City in Western Japan.
Medical emergencies fight against time where every second counts for the first responders, and it is vital to correctly assess the patient's injuries and health condition, relay that information to a physician, and take immediate action. Until now, relaying that important information relied solely on voice via telephone. Difficult-to-hear voice quality due to tense conditions and orders from physicians who cannot see actual conditions places a severe burden on first responders.
Dr. Now is expected to resolve these issues, and to move toward practical use, quick legislative preparations are required for medical practice using real-time video from emergency sites.
Conceptual diagram of Dr. Now and location of system equipment inside ambulance
By delivering high-resolution video in real-time with emergency patient status and observation information from remote locations to medical facilities and taking pictures of vital signs and other graph data, this system provides a more accurate information exchange between first responders and physicians.
An overview of the system is as follows:
The image processing and communications equipment on board the ambulance uses the Contec BX955 BOX-PC series and monitors for checking distributed video. Not only does the BX955 have the required processing capacity, it also well received for its , shock-resistant design with a slim body (35 x 182 x 155 mm (H x W x D)) that can be installed in the smallest locations. Using the results of the demonstration testing, further optimizations are being planned that include migrating to a monitor-type panel computer, preventing power interruptions, and stabilizing the operating system.
In anticipation of future developments, Hanshin Expressway Engineering Company Limited. and Joho-Tech Company Limited of the Hanshin Expressway group entered into an agreement with Contec in July 2010 to work together to market, sell, and provide maintenance for real-time video distribution systems. The purpose of this partnership is to construct an integrated real-time video distribution system for the medical field from implementation to maintenance. Contec continues to supply the main equipment and provide maintenance service, and it will continue to develop and apply technology to expand the functions in the future.
The BX-955 "BOX Computer" series
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