Since astronauts on long-duration missions will not be able to return quickly to Earth, new methods of remote medical diagnosis, monitoring and treatment are necessary. During long-duration space exploration missions, it is also possible that medical procedures may have to be performed by a non-physician astronaut.
The goal for the Smart Medical Systems and Technology Team is the development of intelligent, integrated medical systems to assist in delivering quality health care during spaceflight and exploration. These systems must be small, low-power, noninvasive, versatile and highly automated. Possible technologies needed include ultrasound diagnostics and therapeutics, lab-on-a-chip systems, patient and health physiologic monitors, and automated systems and devices to aid in decision-making, training and diagnosis. New technologies developed by this Team will have immediate benefits to medical care on Earth, especially in remote locations such as Antarctica.
Gary E. Strangman, Ph.D.
Harvard Medical School-Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Team Leader:
Aaron Dentinger, Ph.D.
General Electric Company
The Smart Medical Systems and Technology Team’s principal goal is to develop medical care systems that would assist in the diagnosis and treatment of major illnesses and trauma, as well as to provide sensors and data systems for in-flight monitoring and early detection of medical problems during flight and on planetary surfaces. A secondary goal is to provide novel training tools and modalities for crews to address medical issues when contact with Earth is limited or delayed.
The Team’s anticipated deliverables for spaceflight include:
Much of the technology developed by the Smart Medical Systems and Technology Team has direct benefits for health care on Earth. Some of the locations that will benefit from this research include emergency rooms, rural medical facilities, the battlefield and accident scenes. The Team’s research has applications for Earth use in the following ways: