Scottish-based MIME Technologies has invented new inflight medical emergency solutions that will revolutionize onboard medical handling. The MIME technology will hugely improve badly needed airline medical emergency procedures. The rendering of medical help will take on a whole new meaning. Undoubtedly, this technology could also help to save passenger lives when inflight medical emergencies happen, by real-time transmission of essential data to clinicians on the ground.
Today’s inflight medical emergency procedures are good, but far from the best. I am speaking from personal experiences. As an airline pilot for more than 30 years, I have experienced more medical passenger emergencies than I can count.
How many passengers travel by air in one year on a worldwide basis?
About 4 billion(!) passengers travel by air in a year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), to double by 2036.
Inflight medical emergencies are expected to increase with the ever-increasing numbers of passengers.
There has not been any real advances or effective solutions to improving how these emergencies are being handled.
Improvement of time-critical inflight medical emergency procedures by MIME Technologies
You’re inflight when a flight attendant makes an announcement:
“Are there any medical personnel on board?”
You automatically know what’s happening. A passenger (or crew) needs medical attention.
Needing medical help while being stuck on an airplane at 37,000 feet is certainly not the ideal situation to be in. But, an airline’s procedures for handling such situations are actually pretty good.
Yet, a new, great solution to improving time-efficiency and data critical to handling inflight medical emergencies is now available.
The eye-opening solution could lie in the new technology offered by MIME Technologies!
It will take time to see this new technology in use worldwide. However, the team at MIME has recently secured new investment funds to scale its technology and are currently addressing the regulatory approvals to sell internationally.
How does MIME Technologies present huge improvements in inflight medical emergency passenger care?
Here’s how the MIME Technologies solution will improve passenger care in an inflight medical emergency:
- The system offers vastly improved support for the flight attendant crew (in line with IATA guidelines), handling the practical hands-on tasks and coordination of the medical emergency. Improved support would be provided for the pilots, handling these emergencies in the form of time-critical coordination, Captain decision making, and communication around the medical emergency.
- Sensor technologies communications offer integration of clinical-grade medical sensors. The sensors allow for real-time monitoring of a passenger’s vital signs which can be transmitted to airline clinical decision-makers on the ground.
- The user can identify and track any improvement, deterioration, or stability in the condition of the passenger.
- The collected data is then handed over to emergency services personnel after landing, through MIME’s clever reporting, which uses natural language – less time writing post-incident reports.
How does the Mime Technology inflight medical emergency solutions procedure work?
MIME Timeline Infographics
What airlines do to get you medical help while you’re flying
The inflight medical situations have always presented challenges for the airlines. Then, different airlines have their own approved procedures for handling medical emergencies.
Determining factors to such procedures depend on many things. Factors include government rules, the airlines’ own approved procedures, crew (flight attendant) training, geographical location when the emergency occurs, and the technological capabilities of the airplane you’re on.
Inflight medical emergency procedures today
Generally speaking, here’s how most major airlines will get you help. These procedures are very common, at least in the western world:
- Your first responder is your flight attendant.
*** Flight attendants are trained and current in the rendering of first aid.
*** They are also trained in the operation of medical equipment. Medical equipment includes portable oxygen and the heart defibrillators carried on board, and more.
*** The flight attendants also have access and authorization to use the onboard basic medical kit.
- If there is any medically qualified personnel onboard (for example an EMT, nurse, or medical doctor), then your initial medical evaluation (or even treatment) can start with them. Another more advanced medical kit is accessible for any qualified medical personnel onboard. This kit has the necessary medications and more advanced medical equipment to handle certain emergencies.
- The lead flight attendant will notify and coordinate with the captain to explain what is going on.
Next course of action
- After evaluating the situation the next courses of action will be made by the captain, in consultation with the first officer (copilot).
- Your pilots will contact their airline ground-based medical provider for a “phone patch” between the pilots and doctors on the ground.
Different means of communication are available. Which one depends on the airplane’s and the airline’s capability:
Such means include:
*** VHF radio (Very High Frequency radio). Only good if the airplane is within a couple of hundred miles from a ground communication relay station.
*** HF radio (High Frequency radio). Traditional means of communication flying over oceans, for example, the Atlantic or the Pacific. HF radio transmissions have the worst quality of radio clarity. It comes with a lot of static, but it enables radio communications over large geographical distances.
*** ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System).
*** CPDLC (Controller Pilot Data Link Communications).
- After communicating and coordinating with the ER doctor your captain will make the decision as to the safest and most logical course of action for the airplane and the sick passenger.
- In the worst-case scenario, where a passenger is critically ill, a medical divert to the nearest suitable airport will be made.
A leading global airline has completed field trials and the company has won numerous awards for Research & Development.
The founders of MIME Technologies are originally from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland:
Dr. Alasdair Mort, PH.D.
When can we expect to see this new technology on U.S. airlines?
Captain Jetson reached out to Anne Roberts. Here’s what she said,
“We are working towards being FDA approved to makes sales in the States early 2020.”
Investing in new technology
Of course, MIME’s goal of incorporating their technology into real life does not come cheap. Investors are needed. As Equity Gap director Fraser Lusty put it,
“The aviation industry is well aware of the cost and disruption of in-flight medical emergencies so the MIME solution is being well received and we envision the investment will accelerate the commercial adoption.”
For more information
To find out more about MIME Technologies’ inflight medical emergency solutions, or to contact them, you can check out their website here.
Should you have any comments about the article please contact the article’s author, Captain Les at CaptainJetson.com here.
Featured Image: Unsplash.