You are on page 1of 17

ENGL 210 502

Improving Emergency Healthcare Accessibility

Using Medical Drones

Zeinab Ataya UIN: 425001224

Ahmad Al-Sadi UIN: 724006589

Yamen Zaza UIN: 924007663

Ali Al-Ansari UIN: 324006534

Submission Date: 2nd of February 2017

Professor: Amy Hodges


Table of Contents

1.0 Overview............................................................................................................ 3
2.0 - Significance of Problem...................................................................................... 4
3.0 - Proposed Solution............................................................................................... 5
3.1 Procedure.......................................................................................................... 5
3.2 - Specialized Drones.......................................................................................... 6
3.3 - Key Features of the Medical Drones:...............................................................7
i) Auto-Pilot.......................................................................................................... 7
ii) GPS Flight Assistance....................................................................................... 7
iii) Coming Home.................................................................................................. 7
iv) Camera........................................................................................................... 7
v) Motion Detector............................................................................................... 7
vi) Electric Powered.............................................................................................. 8
vii) Weather Adaptability...................................................................................... 8
3.4 - Target Market.................................................................................................. 8
4.0 - Design Constraints........................................................................................... 10
4.1 - Battery.......................................................................................................... 10
4.2 - Weather conditions....................................................................................... 10
4.3 - Privacy.......................................................................................................... 10
5.0 - Current Drones in the Market...........................................................................11
5.1- Allied Drones [9]............................................................................................. 11
5.2 - DJI Matrice 600 Pro [10]................................................................................ 11
5.3 - Flytrex Sky [11]............................................................................................. 12
6.0 - Benefits of Emergency Medical Drones............................................................12
6.1 - Efficiency....................................................................................................... 12
6.2 Convenience................................................................................................. 12
6.3 - Accessibility.................................................................................................. 13
7.0 - Conclusion........................................................................................................ 14
8.0 References....................................................................................................... 15
1.0 Overview
Like many places which use automobiles as the main method of transport,
Qatar is commonplace to road accidents. The Ministry of Development
Planning and Statistics released monthly statistics highlighting that fatal road
accidents claimed the lives of 80 people across Qatar over the first half of
2016 [1]. According to Dr. Rafael Consunji, a Trauma Surgery Section Injury
Prevention director from Hamad General Hospital (HGH), 71% of these
deaths happen on the scene of the accident [2]. As a result, to reduce the
number of fatalities; medical drones are the next step towards improving
emergency healthcare accessibility and resolving a serious and ongoing
issue in Qatar.

Another issue which has caught the attention of international news outlets
and safety organizations such as Amnesty International, is the increasing
number of accidents and deaths occurring at construction sites [3]. By
implementing medical drones, we can ensure that the number of fatal
accidents will decrease due to a faster response rate to emergencies. In
addition, medical drones can be very useful when being sent to construction
sites where the accident happens at elevated locations which would take
longer to reach if pursued by other methods.

Improving healthcare accessibility using medical drones can help progress


the industry and improve its efficiency when dealing with fatal accidents that
could save seconds of an individuals life. Medical drones are revolutionary
and this report is just the beginning towards developing smart technologies
that can benefit and improve our lives.
2.0 - Significance of Problem
The two most popular methods of reacting to a 999 alert, are van-based
ambulances and helicopter ambulances, each of which poses their own flaws
over time. In the Gulf, van-based ambulances suffer from severe traffic
congestion, especially during the day. According to Gulf News, the ignorance
of many motorists on the street is becoming a larger problem every day,
which in turn has led to the start of many campaigns in Qatar and Dubai [4].
They explain further that the sight of an ambulance stuck on a busy road is a
recurring scene, signaling how some lives are put in danger due to mere
traffic.

On the other hand, Air Ambulance services can only be dispatched to reach
otherwise isolated areas or to aid patients that are in extremely urgent
cases. Also, the topic of when to dispatch a helicopter ambulance remains a
highly debated topic among the various emergency medical service (EMS)
providers, as pointed out and studied extensively by the American College of
Emergency Physicians [5].

Not only that, but the request for immediate assistance through 999 is not
always justified. Too often, many resources are invested in cases that
wouldve easily been dealt with were there other forms of service. Karen
Auge, a Denver Post reporter, talks about this conflict in detail. According to
Auge, many emergency calls arent emergencies at all but are medical
situations best handled in a doctors office [6]. Yet again, we see this trend
not only evident in the more Western part of the world, but right in the heart
of the Gulf region. The Peninsula, in a recent post, claims that the Qatari EMS
receives 5,000 to 6,000 calls per day, 80% of which are non-urgent [7].
Although Qatar has taken steps to resolve such arising issues, such as
introducing special ambulances that are meant to take care of patients
mobility and non-urgent use, the conflict with traffic in this small country still
hinders many of those well-intentioned programs.

Also, most of those vehicles are used to transport patients that are already
being taken care of in one hospital or to offer pre-registered assistance [8].
There is no success to be found of a service that offers simultaneous and
immediate medical assistance to patients throughout the country.

The problems of cost, traffic, drivers ignorance, and non-urgent assistance


requests remain unsolved problems in an increasingly technological world.

3.0 - Proposed Solution


One of the visions of Qatar 2030 is for Qatar to significantly improve its
healthcare sector. Thus, to enhance the efficiency and functionality of
medical services, our company Q-Drones is introducing Specialized
Emergency Medical Drones to achieve this vision. When developing our
drone technology, we do not aim to replace ambulances all together because
in some cases, the individual needs to be relocated to a hospital for further
aid. Rather, the drones would be used in cases such as:

1. When there is no need for ambulance/medical personnel to be at the


scene like non-urgent emergencies
2. When an accident is life-threatening and the drone could be sent out
to reach the scene earlier (to offer the needed medication) before an
ambulance can arrive.

The first few minutes after an accident are critical and it is vital to provide
the correct medical attention to thwart further complications. Thus,
accelerating the response rate is one of the core goals of our project.
3.1 Procedure
The image below shows the operation cycle of an emergency medical drone.
It explains the necessary steps when responding to an emergency.

When the emergency department is notified with a serious accident, the


appropriate medical drone would be sent out to the specified location within
8-10 minutes travelling at speeds up to 45 mph, 400ft above the ground. The
specifications of our drones are designed to be similar to match those which
are currently competitive in the market such as the Allied Drones HL48
"Chaos" and the DJI Matrice 600 Pro.

3.2 - Specialized Drones


To enhance the functionality of the medical drones, different medical drones
can be manufactured to serve specific cases. For example, an individual
suffering from cardiac arrest can be sent a drone containing a CPR kit. The
advantage towards having specialized drones is reducing the load of the
drone so that it could travel at a faster velocity.

Each of the medical drones could carry up to 12 Kg of aid which can include
lifesaving technologies, such as:
Specific medication
Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
Emergency Allergy Shots
General First-Aid Kits

3.3 - Key Features of the Medical Drones:


i) Auto-Pilot
The medical drones are autonomous, which means that they can operate
freely without the need for human interaction. This gives way for multiple
drones to be flown at once without worrying about having an active team
flying all the drones which reduces costs on human resources and training.

Autonomous drones are also free from human error which can significantly
reduce the chances of accidents. However, when needed, an operator can
choose to control the drone when problems arise such as a fault with the
navigation system.

ii) GPS Flight Assistance


The advanced navigation software allows the drone to take the most optimal
route towards the desired location in order to reduce the flight time. The
system also instructs the drone where to fly (avoiding passing over private
property), at what height and what speed.

iii) Coming Home


The feature allows the drone to automatically fly back directly to the medical
center through radio control after it has delivered the necessary aid.

iv) Camera
A camera would be attached to the drone to facilitate multiple tasks. The
main task of the camera is to provide instructions to the people at the
accident scene. Along with a built-in speaker, an operator could instruct the
individual the steps regarding how to use any of the equipment. The
secondary task of the camera is to monitor traffic when flying to the
accidents location so that if an ambulance is needed, it could indicate which
roads are best to avoid due to traffic.

v) Motion Detector
The motion detector analyzes the drones surroundings around a five-meter
radius to avoid any mid-air collisions that would disrupt the flight or
damage any of the components.

vi) Electric Powered


This is a resourceful method of powering the drone without causing much
harm to the environment. The batteries are rechargeable (have a 50-minute
battery life) and contain fiber-optic like wires to ensure efficient energy
transfer and immediate responses to the operator. In addition, there is a
secondary battery pack plugged to the drone in case the drone was flying for
a longer period. *See section 4.1 under design constraints for more
information.

vii) Weather Adaptability


The carbon fiber material covering the drone is waterproof so that it could
tolerate rainy conditions as well as being able to withstand strong winds and
to some extent, lighting strikes.

3.4 - Target Market


Since our product is strictly focused on the healthcare sector, our ideal target
market will be the various emergency medical centers scattered across
Doha, Qatar. Medical drones will be a beneficial addition to the emergency
team as they are more effective and have a faster response rate (8-10
seconds response time) when compared with ambulances (10-15 minutes)
and medical personnel [9]

Also, it is important to note that not all the listed medical centers can
dispatch ambulances. This is because not every medical center has the
necessary capital and human resources to facilitate an emergency service.
Thus, medical drones are a convenient alternative as they do not require
much resources and cost very little (30,000 Riyals) when compared to a van-
ambulance (250,000+ Riyals). *See section 6.0 which explains more benefits
as to why drones are better than their current counterparts.

The picture below shows all the medical centers currently available around
Qatar.

The Medical Centers Which Offer Emergency Services

Our initial aim is to provide 5 drones to the main medical center (Hamad
Medical Center) and study how much they are used and how effective they
are. Hamad Medical Center was chosen as the likely candidate for our study
because it is the main healthcare center in Qatar and it receives the most
emergencies per day [9]. Once a full analysis has been conducted for a
period of 6 months, a data report can be produced and shared with the rest
of the medical centers to potentially convince them to buy the product.

The report will focus on the effectiveness of the medical drones. Our criteria
for effectiveness are:

The number of successful uses of the medical drones


Success rate ratio of whether the drones created an impact when being
sent in conjunction with an ambulance
The speed and time it takes for the drone to arrive at an accident
Patient will be surveyed whether an operator offering instructions
through the drone (during non-drastic injuries) is an alternative to
medical personnel being present at the scene

In addition, our product will be showcased in the next Healthcare Convention


to attract and convince further the medical centers that medical drones are
next step towards improving emergency healthcare accessibility while also
looking for potential investors and suppliers.

The market for this product not only serves for emergency circumstances but
the scope can range to medical deliveries (blood supplies) and search and
rescue missions whereby the drones can be used to aid firefighters and
emergency personnel to rescue people in danger.

4.0 - Design Constraints


4.1 - Battery
A team of electrical and chemical engineers developed a highly durable
lithium polymer battery that can last up to 50 minutes. However, the voltage
and current of the batteries varies according to the range and weight load
capacity of the drone. The voltage and the current can go up to 22.2 V and
22,000 mAh [10].

4.2 - Weather conditions


The drones are made of carbon fiber which protects their body from corrosion
and different weather conditions such as rain or dust. Also, the course of the
drone is not affected by severe weather changes such as dust, rain, or wind
as they are controlled by a GPS system that accurately leads them to the
right destination.
4.3 - Privacy
Although the drones are equipped with cameras, they do not pose any threat
on the privacy or safety of citizens as the drone cameras are monitored by
the government and can only be used for medical purposes and improving
the accuracy of the location of patients.

5.0 - Current Drones in the Market


Below are three drones are which acquire the best specifications in the
current market. Our aim is to develop technologies that would compete with
these drones. Since our drones are non-commercial and will be used for
medical purposes, the specifications can be improved further to satisfy our
main goal.

5.1- Allied Drones [11]

Maximum Flight Time


Weight Load Capacity
Connection Range
Feature Specification
Price $ 20,000
Dimensions 1574.8 x 1574.8 x
457.2 mm
45 minutes 6.8
Body Carbon Fiber
20 Km
Kg
Material
Speed 13.4 m/s
GPS Yes
Compatibility
5.2 - DJI Matrice 600 Pro [12]
Feature Specification
Maximum Flight Time Price Connection$ Range
Weight Load Capacity 5000
Wingspan 1668 x 1518 x 727
mm
Body Carbon Fiber
Material
32 minutes 6Speed 5 Km17 m/s
Kg
GPS Yes
Compatibility

5.3 - Flytrex Sky [13]


Feature Specification
Maximum Flight Time
Weight Load Connection
Capacity
Price $ Range
999
Dimensions 273 223 107 mm
Body Carbon Fiber
2
Material
Kg
Speed 15 m/s
GPS 2 Km
Yes
29 minutes
Compatibility

6.0 - Benefits of Emergency Medical Drones


6.1 - Efficiency
Integrating the drone system into the current medical structure will push
Qatar one step closer to fulfilling its 2030 vision where improving healthcare
is a main priority. Our goal is to provide a better alternative to the standard
healthcare solutions using drones.

Having a sleek body design, the drones are less restricted when
maneuvering compared to current transportation means because the drones
aerodynamics along with the quadrotors provide enough thrust power to lift
the payload without degrading the speed factor. This aspect comes in handy
when dealing with situations in which the patient is stuck in traffic or trapped
inside a building. The medical drone will be able to land and move on ground
thanks to the special wheels that will be attached to its base to prevent
unnecessary damage to the body and expand the range of motion to include
on and off ground movement. In other words, drones will not only save time,
but also may save more lives than common methods used.

6.2 Convenience
To make Doha a smart city, easy operating mechanisms along with
automated functionality are required to achieve that goal. Drone stations are
easy to operate and will immediately function accordingly. This is very crucial
because even though Doha has a relatively quick medical transportation
system, statistics from police departments show that it takes an ambulance
15 minutes to reach its destination through the fastest route possible [9]. As
Qatars population increases, the resulted traffic will cause more challenges
that will make the traditional medical system inefficient.

One of the drones main functions is autonomous piloting in which the drone
will make use of its built-in GPS system and navigation system to arrive to its
destination. A main control center will also track and provide the drones
coordinates with respect to other drones. Thus, the likelihood of errors is very
low when compared to human errors. When necessary, the drones will offer a
manual control option in which professional operators will take control if the
situation requires so.
For the convenience of the medical staff, the medical drone system is
operated by simple commands which will only direct the drone to the
required medical equipment and to the patients location. Our simple user
interface will reduce certain complications the hospital staff face might face.

Also, the drones will make use of its built-in camera and speakers to
communicate verbal commands to the patients making the process more
responsive. In case a doctor needs to ask questions or give out specific
procedures, the camera can start a live feed of the patient.

Furthermore, the complexity of the drone allows it to perform multiple tasks


at a time without disrupting its responsiveness. In the context of this project,
drones can act as surveillance drones that can recognize accidents and
traffic flow to provide such crucial information to the operations center to act
accordingly, making drones helpful in many scenarios.

6.3 - Accessibility
Synchronizing Hamads Medical Hospital (HMC) services with what drones
are capable of will result in smoother operation and faster feedback to reach
the patient.

Drone stations will be available in multiple locations to ensure a better, more


accessible service. The stations will be equipped with the essential medical
tools in a form of medical crates that are pre-assembled to aid common
incidents. The drones will have an integrated bar code system to identify and
pick up the prescribed crate to be delivered. Drone stations will also have
landing pads that will automatically start charging the drone once it lands on
it. Different drones will have different landing pads that will categorize the
drones with respect to the specific usage of that drone. This is because
drones that fly longer distances have a stronger battery pack which needs
different power supplies.

The drone station will be built to allow takeoff from a higher altitude. The
reason being is that the earths lowest atmosphere layer, known as the
troposphere, is home to most of the atmospheric changes which will result in
a poor performance and an increase in software/hardware errors. For
instance, taking off from a higher altitude in case of a foggy weather will
ensure better vision from the drones built-in cameras. Furthermore, drone
stations will be located in accident-heavy areas which will provide medical
services in an agile manner leaving no patients left behind around the clock.

On the long run, drone stations, will enhance the medical aid system as not
all hospitals can dispatch ambulances. A network system of drone stations
will cover most of the areas within and Doha, making accessible to most of
the population.

In addition, with drone stations being built next to hospitals, we will be able
to cover most of the common injuries as any required medication can be
escorted by hospital personnel to the drone station. Thus, many lives will be
saved whether the scenario is an injury or a required dose of medication
making the system a bit more flexible and adaptive.

7.0 - Conclusion
Health and hospitalization are becoming increasingly vital concerns,
especially in Qatar. Due to various existing problems in the hospitalization
methods that are present locally, the EMSs1 need for new technological aids
is growing larger every day. Drones have proven to offer fast and reliable
transportation methodology for mild medical needs or urgent calls where
contemporary methods are deemed inefficient. A network of many unique
autonomous medical drones will bring Qatar a step closer towards its vision.
This network will not only save Qatar many unnecessary costs, but also help
save a life when one second can be the deciding factor.

1 Emergency Medical Services


8.0 References
[1:3] Qatar Scoop Staff. 80 People Killed Fatal Road Accidents in Qatar.
[Aug 16, 2016]
Internet:http://www.qatarscoop.com/news/80-people-killed-fatal-road-
accidents-in-qatar-473-accidents-in-madinat-khalifa-303-road-crashes-in-al-
maamoura/ [Accessed: Feb 12, 2017]

[2:3] CW Staff. Construction accidents on the rise in Qatar. [Feb 11, 2013]
Internet:http://www.constructionweekonline.com/article-20865-construction-
accidents-on-the-rise-in-qatar/#.UYea_LVTDms [Accessed: Feb 12, 2017]

[3:3] Amnesty International. Qatar: Migrant workers still at risk of abuse


despite reforms. [Dec 12 2016]
Internet:https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-
africa/qatar/report-qatar/ [Accessed: Feb 12, 2017]

[4:4] J. A. Tamimi, "Ambulance service: Every second counts in saving a life.


[2011]
Available: http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/emergencies/ambulance-service-
every-second-counts-in-saving-a-life-1.765059. [Accessed: Feb 12, 2017]

[5:4] American College of Emergency Physicians and National Association of


EMS Physicians, Guidelines for Air Medical Dispatch. [2007]
Available:
https://www.acep.org/uploadedFiles/ACEP/Practice_Resources/issues_by_cate
gory/Emergency_Medical_Services/GuidelinesForAirMedDisp.pdf. [Accessed:
Feb. 28, 2017]

[6:4] K. Aug, "911 non-emergencies a growing problem nationwide."[2009].


Available: http://www.denverpost.com/2009/12/28/911-non-emergencies-a-
growing-problem-nationwide/ [Accessed: Feb 12, 2017]

[7:4] F. Saleem, "HMC introduces special ambulances," The Peninsula Qatar,


2016. [Online]. Available:
https://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/15/11/2016/HMC-introduces-
special-ambulances. [Accessed: Feb. 28, 2017]

[8:4] Doha News. Only 10% of 999 Calls in Qatar for Real Emergencies [Oct
19 2014]
https://dohanews.co/moi-official-10-pc-999-calls-real-emergencies/
[Accessed: Feb 12, 2017]

[9:9] Hamad Medical Cooperation. Emergency Department. [n.d.]


Website: https://www.hamad.qa/EN/Patient-Information/Emergency-
Departments/Pages/default.aspx [Accessed: Feb 12, 2017]
[10:10] Compare Drones, Compare Drones - Search, Find, and Compare
Drone Specs. [Online]. Internet: http://drones.specout.com/. [Accessed: 28-
Feb-2017].

[11:11] Graphiq. Allied Drones HL48 "Chaos" [n.d.]


Internet: http://drones.specout.com/l/140/Allied-Drones-HL48-Chaos.
[Accessed: 12-Feb-2017]

[12:11] Graphiq. DJI Matrice 600 Pro (M600 Pro). [n.d.]


Internet: http://drones.specout.com/l/1125/DJI-Matrice-600-Pro-M600-Pro.
[Accessed: Feb 12, 2017]

[13:12] Graphiq. Flytrex Sky. [n.d.]


Internet: http://drones.specout.com/l/327/Flytrex-Sky. [Accessed: Feb 12,
2017]