Remote Monitoring of Lung Fans and Monitors of Vital Functions Helps to Solve Deficiency of Experts

The VENT-CONNECT project, which enables remote monitoring of lung ventilators and vital signs monitors, especially in patients with COVID-19 connected to artificial lung ventilation, passed the preclinical phase and received a positive opinion from the ethics committee of the Royal Vinohrady University Hospital (FNKV). The technical solution developed by the team of the Czech Technical University in Prague composed of researchers from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics (CIIRC) and the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering in cooperation with the Department of Anaesthesiology and Resuscitation (KAR) streamlines condition monitoring for patients in the infection zone with remote access to ventilator screens and vital signs monitors. This allows physicians to adjust lung ventilator parameters more accurately during treatment, which of course leads to better patient care. The solution is cheap and easy to deploy in other workplaces, be it COVID-19 or others.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased the demands on the intensive care unit of Czech hospitals. Treatment of patients behind barriers and the lack of experts in this field lead to the fact that it is not always possible to physically examine a patient with the necessary competencies when a patient's health changes. Decision-making is often based on information provided by telephone to team members present in the infection zone, supplemented by clinical information system data. The VENT-CONNECT project thus responds flexibly to the needs of intensive care for difficult patients with COVID-19 connected to artificial lung ventilation.

The VENT-CONNECT project was launched in October 2020 as a response to the new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and was initiated by a request for assistance to the Rector of CTU doc. RNDr. Vojtěch Petráček, CSc., by the head of the Department of Anesthesiology and Resuscitation (KAR) FNKV doc. MUDr. František Duška, Ph.D. The project is a follow-up to some other projects that have been created since the spring of 2020, especially the ProoFOND project supported by TAČR.

“With VENT-CONNECT technology, one specialist can remotely monitor the health of patients connected to artificial lung ventilation. This is possible thanks to the transfer of data from the fan screens and their evaluation on a computer or mobile phone screen outside the infection zone. Healthcare professionals thus have an immediate overview of patients' vital functions without having to enter the infection zone with protective equipment. They can check the condition of patients and consult their condition safely with colleagues. This has a direct impact on the safety and treatment of patients,” said Ing. Miroslav Macík, Ph.D., from the Department of Computer Graphics and Interaction, Faculty of Electrical Engineering.

The VENT-CONNECT project has the potential to become a telemedicine system in the future, which will take full advantage of 5G networks and enable expert consultations between hospitals.

The VENT-CONNECT project involved a team of doctors, nurses of KAR FNKV and researchers and students from several parts of CTU. On behalf of FNKV, MUDr. Václav Zvoníček, Ph.D., and a team of doctors and nurses of the Department of Anaesthesiology and Resuscitation, 3rd Medical Faculty, Charles University and FNKV. “We express a big thank you for the great help and cooperation to its head, doc. MUDr. František Dušek, Ph.D., and his entire team that during the pandemic they enabled the creation of this project,” says Ing. Lenka Vysloužilová, Ph.D., who coordinated the project on the part of CTU.

Attendees on behalf of the Czech Technical University in Prague were Ing. Miroslav Macik, Ph.D., Ing. Jan Kubr, Ph.D., from the Department of Computer Graphics and Interaction, Ing. Martin Samek from the Center for Computer Science and Informatics and students Bc. Jan Jirman and Jakub Vaněk. From the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics, its members are prof. Ing. Václav Hlaváč, CSc., Ing. Lenka Vysloužilová, Ph.D., and doc. Ing. Lenka Lhotská, CSc., From the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics and the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, whose students Bc. Lukáš Povišer and Eliška Niebauerová significantly participated in the deployment directly in the FNKV. The team thanks all colleagues for their support, help, ideas and valuable comments.

More information about the project can be found at https://www.ventconnect.cz/.

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