In the 15th century, soldiers injured in battle were left on the battlefield for two to three days until their condition either stabilised or they died. Since the efforts of surgeon Ambroise Paré in the same century, one of the forerunners in improving medical treatment for injured soldiers, the care that soldiers receive today is much safer, quicker and well organised. Here, Neil Oliver, technical marketing manager of professional battery manufacturer Accutronics explains how portable and wearable technology is supporting the future of military medical devices.
The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) delivers health services for 200,000 service personnel, 50,000 dependants and many veterans. This ranges from emergency battlefield trauma-care to routine health concerns. To monitor this, the MoD uses a system known as Integrated Systems Health Management (ISHM), used across the worldwide defence sector.
Following the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), there are a variety of devices which produce data. In the battlefield, soldiers are provided with wearable devices to monitor their vital statistics, such as their heart rate, blood pressure, stress and fatigue levels. These enable clinicians in base camps or back in the UK to keep an eye on the soldiers out in the field. They can then make decisions, such as urgent medical evacuation, based on the data provided to them.
Given the critical nature of the decisions that are made based on data from wearable devices, it is essential that they are up to the task. Although that’s easier said than done when they’re faced with 50°C heat, sandstorms and the risk of counterfeit products. The batteries that keep these devices running must be able to withstand all of this, so original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) should work with companies who can supply bespoke and reliable batteries to fit their needs.