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The Clinical Application of Mobile Technology to Disaster Medicine

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 August 2012

Timothy Case*
School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Cecily Morrison
Engineering Design Centre, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Alain Vuylsteke
Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Papworth Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust and Cambridge University Health Partners, Cambridge, UK
Correspondence: Timothy Case, MA, MPhil, MBBChir University of Cambridge - Hughes Hall Wollaston Road Cambridge CB1 2EW UK E-mail


Mobile health care technology (mHealth) has the potential to improve communication and clinical information management in disasters. This study reviews the literature on health care and computing published in the past five years to determine the types and efficacy of mobile applications available to disaster medicine, along with lessons learned.

Five types of applications are identified: (1) disaster scene management; (2) remote monitoring of casualties; (3) medical image transmission (teleradiology); (4) decision support applications; and (5) field hospital information technology (IT) systems. Most projects have not yet reached the deployment stage, but evaluation exercises show that mHealth should allow faster processing and transport of patients, improved accuracy of triage and better monitoring of unattended patients at a disaster scene. Deployments of teleradiology and field hospital IT systems to disaster zones suggest that mHealth can improve resource allocation and patient care. The key problems include suitability of equipment for use in disaster zones and providing sufficient training to ensure staff familiarity with complex equipment. Future research should focus on providing unbiased observations of the use of mHealth in disaster medicine.

CaseT, MorrisonC, VuylstekeA. The Clinical Application of Mobile Technology to Disaster Medicine. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(5):1-9.

Comprehensive Review
Copyright © World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine 2012

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