(From left) Staff Sgt. Matthew Falat, Capt. Marion Foreman and Maj. (Dr.) Mike Meyer test medical heads-up displays, or MHUDs, in the Wilford Hall Medical Center simulation center at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The MHUDs were developed by staff at the Air Warfare Battlelab at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The hats were props used during the evaluation phase. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Shaun Westphal)
Critical care air transport team members Staff Sgt. Michelle Ransdell and Capt. Shaun Westphal simulate usage of medical heads-up displays, or MHUDs, on a C-123 Caribou at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The MHUDs were developed by staff at the Air Warfare Battlelab at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The hats were props used during the evaluation phase. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sue Campbell)
Col. (Dr.) James Henderson, director of the Air Force Expeditionary Medical Skills Institute, views a patient's vital signs (enlarged at right) through a medical heads-up display. Colonel Henderson is a member of the critical care air transport team executive council. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/John Marshall)
6/14/2006 - LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFPN) -- Wilford Hall Medical Center Critical Care Air Transport Team, or CCATT, members are testing technology designed to improve patient care in the air.
The latest advancement in remote monitoring capability, the medical heads-up display, or MHUD, was brought here by technicians from the Air Warfare Battlelab at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
“The battlelab’s mission is to bring new technology to the military that makes them lighter, leaner and, in this case, more life saving,” said Maj. Andrea Vinyard, deputy of expeditionary combat support and chief of medical operations at the battlelab.
The MHUD is a stand-alone, battery-operated computer system with a band that fits over a person’s head. The band, which fits under a battle dress uniform cap, has a small, transparent screen that folds down to cover one eye, rather than a traditional computer monitor.
“HUD systems are being used by Army Stryker brigades in Iraq. They use them to pull up maps and other details needed during their missions,” said Maj. (Dr.) Mike Meyer, medical director of the pediatric intensive care flight here. “The MHUD is a direct application of military battle technology in the medical community. Its goal is to serve as a force multiplier while improving the standards of patient monitoring in austere environments.”
The MHUD can use all Windows applications, plug into any keyboard and connect to a shared drive.
“I think the MHUD is a good idea for CCATT and expeditionary medical support teams. It would give us eye-level monitoring capability for numerous patients,” said Capt. Shaun Westphal, CCATT pilot unit nurse manager. “When we are flying, we would always know what is going on with all our patients, no matter where we are on the plane.”
A CCATT is a three-member team comprised of a critical care physician, critical care nurse and respiratory therapist. The team’s mission is to operate an intensive care unit in an aircraft cabin during flight.
“A team normally transports six patients at the most,” Captain Westphal said. “However, during our Hurricane Katrina transports last year, some flights carried up to 40 patients. This technology would have really helped during those trips.”
The MHUD will be demonstrated to medical leaders during a working group in August to determine if the technology should be used during Air Force CCATT missions.