DREAMS research improves the chances of survival in remote areas
COLLEGE STATION - A soldier, wounded in combat, gets medical help from a doctor in a field hospital miles away. A hiker, severely injured from a 60 feet fall down a nearly vertical cliff in West Texas, gets treated by a doctor in Lubbock. These situations may seem unrealistic, but they are possible as a result of DREAMS. Disaster Relief and Emergency Medical Services (DREAMS) uses computer and telecommunications technology and research in basic and clinical sciences to improve trauma victims' survival, particularly in isolated areas and combat zones beyond the physical reach of trauma specialists in well-equipped medical centers. The DREAMS team will attend the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) 7th Annual Meeting and Exposition in Los Angeles June 2-5. There they will showcase their projects -- the Deployable Telemedicine System, the Digital EMS ambulance, the Military HMMWV (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) and the Physician's Workstation -- to the healthcare industry. The Deployable Telemedicine System, EMS ambulance, and HMMWV all stream data into the Physician's Workstation at a hospital with the same goal, to get medical attention to people in remote areas. The primary difference is whether it's stationary or not. The EMS ambulance and HMMWV are mobile platforms that move to trauma victims in isolated areas. The Deployable Telemedicine System is a stationary system designed for use in remote, rural areas where a hospital is far away. "The primary rationale for these systems is to provide a means to offset the negative impact of time and distance when dealing with serious trauma occurring in rural areas where the appropriate level of medical care is not immediately available," said Dr. James Wall, co-principal investigator of DREAMS and director of computing and information technology at Texas Center for Applied Technology (TCAT). "ATA provides DREAMS researchers with an opportunity to demonstrate to the telemedicine community the level of maturity of the prototype systems being built," Wall said. "I must add that the maturity level is at a point that we are currently working out the specific details, both technical and regulatory, for our first fielding in Liberty County, Texas later in the year." Physicians and army medics will be attending the meeting to help the DREAMS team demonstrate their projects. DREAMS is a consortium between the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, The Texas A&M University System and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. For more information on DREAMS, see http://www.dreams-project.org. As the state's engineering research agency and as a member of The Texas A&M University System, the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) provides practical solutions to critical needs. From its headquarters in College Station and its 15 regional divisions, TEES identifies and studies areas critical to the state's economic development and quality of life, researches and promotes new technologies, helps communities strengthen science and technology education, investigates problems that affect health and the environment and fosters partnerships between academia and industry.