The Screenless Anaesthesia Monitor (SAM) developed by Dr Paul Barton has been awarded the 2019 WFSA-Fresenius Kabi Anaesthesia Innovation Award. This award identifies and supports the development of innovations that have the potential to transform the field of anaesthesia and improve patient safety worldwide.
The SAM is a light-weight battery powered hospital-grade device and app that enables anaesthesia providers to monitor patient vital signs through their smart phones or devices.
Necessity is the mother of invention
The drive to develop the SAM was provided by Dr Barton’s experience working as an anaesthesiologist in Ecuador, ‘Commonly, patient monitoring equipment was either inconsistent, outdated or unusable, often unsuited to the inhospitable climates that they were used in. My non-clinical time was monopolized by a maddening process of trying to find replacements or repair lack-luster monitors throughout the hospital.’
Together with development partner Inform, Dr Barton set about developing a patient monitoring system that aimed to be affordable, portable, robust, and “ownable” for practitioners working in low-income settings.
The SAM gathers patient data including, non-invasive blood pressure, 3 & 5 lead EKG, pulse oximetry, pulse rate, expired CO2 and respiratory rate. This data is transmitted to the smart device via wireless or wired connectivity and displayed through the SAM app, enabling anaesthesiologists to see graphical and numerical representations of patient vital signs during surgical procedures. Cellular connectivity allows cloud computing, facilitating “big-data” capture, telemedicine functionality and remote sensor calibration.
Saving lives in operating theatres worldwide
Once launched, Paul hopes SAM will be useful for all healthcare providers specifically those working in challenging clinical environments such as first responders and disaster response providers, combat and refugee medical response, and field hospitals and clinics.
‘Our primary vision is to save lives in operating theatres worldwide. To this end, we are building a sustainable business around SAM to continue to develop and refine the product, then market, produce, distribute and sell SAM at the lowest reasonable cost to end users. ‘
He continued, ‘This award will provide us much needed funds for critical product development, specifically in the areas of optimizing sensor accuracy, refinement of the app and its user interface, and shrinking the device footprint.’
As award winners, Paul and his team will receive a grant of $25,000 to develop, test and refine the SAM prototype. Additionally, they will be offered the opportunity to make a short promotional film and present their work at the 2020 World Congress of Anaesthesiologists in Prague.