First Response Monitor is a small device that clips onto a patient’s nose to monitor breathing rate and heart rate, giving an at-a-glance indication of both parameters. This data is added to a trends graph that shows how these measurements change over time. The data can be transmitted via Bluetooth low energy to a smartphone application or tablet, enabling further analyses such as multiple patient triage or situational awareness across the group.
Traditional medical monitoring for patients relies on large and expensive equipment, usually located in ambulances or hospitals, but there isn’t anything on the market that provides a portable, easy-to-use and low-cost monitor for first responders. For the military, which was the initial market researched, first responders tend to be normal soldiers, not experienced medics, so ideal solutions need to be easy-to-use and intuitive – and any equipment has to fit inside their backpacks. Similarly, for a civilian first aid scenario, equipment has to be low cost, easy-to-use and disposable to be part of a first aid kit.
The team undertook user research with a large group of combat medics, paramedics, doctors and logistics teams to identify the most important elements in a first responder situation and uncover needs that had yet to be considered. For example, checking breathing or heart rate is done manually, which is laborious and challenging amidst the noise and stress of a disaster or the front line. It is also difficult to provide adequate care for multiple casualties in these scenarios, when one medic will typically have to attend to a number of injured people.
The team also researched the critical parameters for monitoring patients in the “golden hour” – the period following a traumatic injury, during which prompt medical treatment has the highest chance of preventing death. All the research had enabled the designers to refine and miniaturise the design significantly and provide a truly groundbreaking solution by incorporating novel technology.
Cambridge Design Partnership, United Kingdom
Lucy Sheldon, James Baker, Tom Lawrie-Fussey, Tom Whiting, George Bostock, Ben Kübler, Andy Wynne, Colin Grant