Called the Wireless Internet Information System for Medical Response in Disasters, or WIISARD, the project is funded by a three-year, $4.1 million grant from the National Library of Medicine, one of the agencies of the National Institutes of Health, to the UCSD School of Medicine ($3.6 million) and the VA San Diego Healthcare System ($0.5 million).
The goal of WIISARD is to provide emergency personnel and disaster command centers with medical data to track and monitor the condition of hundreds to thousands of victims on a moment-to-moment basis, over a period of hours to days at the disaster site. In addition, WIISARD will develop technologies to enhance communication among emergency team members and ensure their safety by tracking the "hot zone," or location and wind drift of the chemical or radioactive matter used as a weapon of mass destruction against civilians. (See WIISARD Sidebar)
The WIISARD project director is Leslie Lenert, M.D., UCSD associate professor of medicine and chief of the Laboratory for the Study of Patients' Preferences at the VA San Diego Healthcare System. In addition to his medical background, Lenert holds an M.S. in Medical Information Sciences (now called Biomedical Informatics) from Stanford University.
"We believe that the current technologies supporting acute field care of victims of disasters are simply inadequate," Lenert said. "The new technologies deployed by WIISARD will bring cutting edge wireless Internet technologies from the hospital to the mass-casualty field treatment station. E
Contact: Sue Pondrom
University of California - San Diego