2009 Innovation Awards

      The 2009 EMS EXPO sent me flying all the way to the other side of the continent. More specifically, it took me to the Southeast corner of the country, to Atlanta, Georgia. Aside from the perpetually rainy weather, I was greeted with a healthy serving of good old southern hospitality and fine southern cooking (hmmmm, peach cobbler twice). I was also greeted with an exhibition hall chock-full of the latest and greatest tools of our trade. Read on to find out just exactly which made the cut to be selected as a Top 20 Product Pick for 2009.

Light for Life UC3.400 from 5.11 Tactical

   Given the 24/7 nature of our work, a certain percentage of our work days are, in reality, work nights. That being what it is, it makes sense that one of the essential tools of the trade is a good flashlight if you are going to make do in the nighttime.

   If you have a say on lighting choices, make sure you get your hands on the Light for Life UC3.400. It is unlike any flashlight you have probably worked in the past. The Light for Life shell is made of a high-strength polymer that is abrasion-, crack- and bend-resistant, as well as buoyant and water-resistant. It weighs in at only 16 ounces--about half of what a traditional full-duty flashlight weighs.

   But that's just the outside. There's better stuff inside the Light for Life. Remarkably, there are NO batteries, as the Light for Life is totally solid state and utilizes ultracapacitor technology. Even more amazing, even when totally dead, the Light for Life charges to full capacity in only 90 seconds. Depending on the mode of operation, you can expect up to 23.5+ hours of total runtime in a 24-hour period. That's a remarkable 98% uptime.

   If that's not enough, you have three operational choices: Bright setting gets you 270 peak lumens; standard provides 90 lumens; and the third choice is tactical strobe.

   Given that the life expectancy of the LEDs is 50,000 hours, that tells me you will never replace them, unless you live to be really, really old and still have the Light for Life UC3.400. With the performance characteristics of this flashlight, I'd say that is far more likely than you might imagine.

   For more: www.511tactical.com; 866/451-1726.

SmartMan CPR Skills Training and Feedback Manikin from Ambu SmartMan

   After nearly 50 years of ACLS changing the levels and sequencing of shocks, messing with drugs and dosing schemes, and doing a half-dozen other things in hope of improving cardiac arrest survival, what if it all comes down to CPR? I must say that the irony of that turning out to be true isn't wasted on me, and I hope not on you either. In any case, data keeps piling up on the impact and implications of poorly performed CPR, so it is time to raise the bar on CPR skills.

   Of course, quality training starts with quality training tools, and the SmartMan from Ambu SmartMan is one of the most outstanding CPR training tools I've ever worked with. First off, it offers flexibility of instruction, as the SmartMan can be set to a young adolescent (55 lbs.) or up to a large adult (250 lbs.). In addition, it's the only manikin that provides immediate feedback if you are using the jaw-thrust and ventilating properly, and it only gets better from there.

   The acquisition and utilization of real-time training data is incredible. Colored bar graphs display the rate, depth and chest recoil level for compressions, along with feedback on the rate and volume of ventilations and the time interval in between. You can easily print the results and hand them to the student to review, make changes and prepare for the next round of CPR practice.

   Initially, you can focus on just one single element, such as rescue breathing or continuous compressions, and then incorporate them into the 1 or 2 Rescuer Skill set. Polish them further with Skills Practice, and then take the Skills Test. Internet services with SmartMan allow live archiving of results from training sessions. Full access to the archive for review at a later date is made simple with either direct or remote access capabilities.

   Give the SmartMan a try, and you'll never teach CPR the same way again.

   For more: www.ambusmartman.com; 800/979-0419.

1201 Carbon Monoxide and Methane Monitor from Airspace Monitoring Systems, Inc.

   The term "silent killer" is both an accurate and succinct way of describing carbon monoxide poisoning. The tremendous affinity of hemoglobin for carbon monoxide can quickly take blood levels into the danger zone, with little to make victims aware of the danger they are in until it is often too late.

   If you need to know if there is carbon monoxide or methane in your working environment, you certainly need to check out the CO and Methane Monitor from Airspace Monitoring Systems. Its proprietary, solid state AGS technology requires no calibration—just an occasional verification. The device is simple to operate: Just turn it on and it does a self-check, then zeros the device and reports its findings.

   A combination of audible and visual alarm indicators kick in at CO levels of 30, 60 and 120 parts per million. Methane levels of 5000 ppm also trigger the alarms. An easy-to-spot red LED tells you that you are in a dangerous carbon monoxide environment, while an orange LED identifies the presence of methane.

   Because of its solid state construction, the device is certified intrinsically safe by Underwriters Laboratory, Inc. for use in Class 1, Division 1, Groups A,B,C & D environments. Lastly, don't let size fool you. Weighing in at just under 5 ounces, the Airspace fits easily into a shirt pocket. With just two AA alkaline batteries, you can run this device 24/7 for about 30 days!

   The Airspace Carbon Monoxide and Methane Monitor is built tough and is so reliable that it comes with an almost-unheard-of five-year guarantee on both the device and sensor. Five years out in EMSland...imagine that.

   For more: www.airspaceinc.com; 888/654-5126.

The RAVENAlert System from American Messaging

   Every now and then some smart person takes an existing tool and finds a new application. That is exactly what the folks at American Messaging did when they came up with the RAVENAlert system. Using the proven, reliable technology of paging systems, RAVENAlert provides a means to turn on or off any electrical device in the firehouse. Turn the lights on in the bunkroom, open bay doors, shut off the kitchen stove and trigger the traffic signal in front of the station.

   The FAC unit is the base for the system and comes with 4- or 8-relay configurations. As you put together your wish list of needs, the number of functions you require dictates your choice of configurations. If you attach a printer, the FAC becomes a "rip-and-run" system, providing hard copy dispatch information to the responding crew as they head out the door.

   The FAC system also offers voice and data output functions, in addition to providing text-to-speech capability for connection to any audio device. If necessary, the FAC unit can be connected to a digital sign so you can visually display messages.

   All in all, the RAVEN Firehouse Alerting And Control system represents an incredibly efficient way to perform multiple tasks automatically. I'm told that installation is pretty easy and can be provided by American Messaging or any qualified electrician. Make your life simpler by putting some of those necessary yet mindless tasks on automatic with the RAVENAlert system.

   For more: www.americanmessaging.net; 888/699-8977.

The Patriot from Braun Industries, Inc.

   Braun Industries is a third-generation, family-owned and -operated business with 38 years of experience building top-quality emergency vehicles. While the Patriot marks a radical departure from more traditional designs, it is built to the same exacting standards that have made Braun Industries a household name in our field. Read on to find out what makes Braun's first rescue/transport unit a must-see if your department is in need of new emergency vehicle.

   The Patriot is a multipurpose vehicle with some solid design elements. The basic platform is a fire truck chassis. The Super Chief module features a roomy, 4-person enclosed cab. Should limited fire suppression be required, water, class A foam or C.A.F.S. can be accessed from the mid-ship suppression system. Booster hose reels on either side of the vehicle make access to the 250-gallon water tank or the 10-gallon foam cell a snap.

   As you move further back in the rig, what would normally be a hose bed is now a full-size patient compartment (that meets all KKK specs), giving the Patriot full transport capabilities. The Patriot features Braun's unique SolidBody construction that increases the strength of the vehicle by constructing the floor, roof, sides and doors from brake-formed parts with fully welded seams. The EZ Glide sliding door conveniently slides against the module, as opposed to doors that swing out into traffic and greatly increase your chance of becoming a hood ornament on a passing car.

   Given the outstanding track record of the many emergency vehicles Braun Industries has put on the road over the last four decades, I have little reason to doubt the Patriot will quickly join the ranks alongside their other outstanding emergency vehicles.

   For more: www.braunambulances.com; 800/22-BRAUN.

The ResQGARD from Bound Tree Medical

   The ResQGARD from Bound Tree Medical is not just a product, but more the delivery of a concept. It is an impedance threshold device that, when applied to a patient, requires that they breathe in against resistance. When inspiratory impedance is applied to the breathing circuit, it enhances the negative pressure in the chest, in turn pulling more blood back to the heart. This results in increased preload and should then produce better output on each subsequent cardiac contraction, as long as the patient continues to breathe through the ResQGARD. Under optimal circumstances, the ResQGARD is said to raise blood pressure between 20-30 mmHg, and it does so quickly and noninvasively.

   Possible applications include hypotension that is secondary to hypovolemia, orthostatic intolerance, heat shock, post-dialysis or post-blood donation. While the ResQGARD is not a solution to the problem itself, i.e., volume depletion, it can theoretically serve as bridge therapy for up to 30 minutes while the patient is transported to definitive care.

   Depending on your patient's condition and level of consciousness, you can use the ResQGARD with a facemask or a handheld mouthpiece. In either application, having the ability to temporarily treat hypotensive states quickly and noninvasively is certainly worth looking into.

   For more: www.boundtree.com; 800/533-0523.

Continuous Care Nebulizer from Care2 Medical

   For patients with reactive or diseased airways, inhalation therapy can have an almost magical effect, taking them from serious respiratory distress back to more stable baselines. It truly is a medical intervention when you can see your patient improve right before your very eyes.

   That being said, some patients, for whatever reason, require serial treatment with two or three rounds of back-to-back-to-back bronchodilation until the symptomology resolves. In the past, accomplishing this task meant that you had to take apart the acorn nebulizer each time it ran dry and refill it prior to administering the next breathing treatment. Not only did that waste time, but the patient who was just starting to feel some relief now had to wait for round two.

   Well, you can put those annoying refill waits behind you and watch your patients stay calmer with the Continuous Care Nebulizer from Care2 Medical. The patented Rapid Medication Port gives the EMS team the ability to refill the medication chamber with no disassembly or downtime off the patient.

   The Continuous Care Nebulizer comes either as a nebulizer mask or as a handheld nebulizer. In either case, it is a remarkably simple solution to a problem. There is no reason to carry a "refill-required" nebulizer ever again. Never.

   For more: www.care2medical.com; 877/646-1886.

Clinical Educator Training from FISDAP

   With the future requirement for all paramedic programs to be nationally accredited in order to qualify graduates to sit for the National Registry exam will come other requirements. One requirement is that preceptors receive some sort of formal training.

   Given that most paramedic programs have many field sites, ranging from minutes to hours to, in some cases, being several states away, clearly the most efficient way to reach this target group is through the online platform, and that is exactly what FISDAP has done with its efficient and effective Web-based Clinical Educator Training program.

   Because Clinical Educator Training is online, scheduling is at the user's convenience. Work on it from home or anywhere you can get Internet access. Let's say you are working on the program at the station and you get tripped out for a call. No problem. You can stop and start as many times as necessary to complete the 4-hour program.

   Using educational videos and narrative, the subject matter is very well delivered in a very tight package. At the completion of each section, there is a short quiz that needs to be passed before moving on to the next section in the course. When you complete the course, there is a 20-question end-of-course examination to confirm that you have left the program with what you came for--basic knowledge of how to be a fair, objective field or clinical preceptor. Upon successful completion, you can print your certificate on-site for your records or to submit to your training officer for your file.

   For more: www.fisdap.net; 651/690-9241.

Fast Set-3 Moldable Splint Kit from Faretec., Inc.

   Splints are frequently designed based on a "form follows function" mind-set, which in many cases results in a splint that is very specific to its use, e.g., just for femur fractures or just pelvic fractures, etc.

   Conversely, there is always a need for a splint that has more versatility, giving it potential uses in multiple applications. Another desirable quality, though rarely found in splints, is one that can actually be form-fitted for displaced bones that can't be realigned, or for dislocated joints.

   The Fast Set-3 Splint may well be the magic bullet of splinting, because it has many of the desirable qualities I've mentioned. This is an easily moldable fiberglass splint that is activated by sprinkling a couple of drops of water on the cast. The inside of the splint has a soft lining, making for comfortable contact. During the 2 to 3 minutes it takes for the splint to set up, you can gently continue to form it to where you get the ideal combination of stability and patient comfort. You can even start to wrap the splint in place while it is still setting up, allowing you to make even more efficient use of your time.

   The Fast Set-3 comes packaged with a Salijet for activation of the splint and a wrap for securing the splint in place. One last perk: The Fast Set-3 is x-ray-translucent, so it can be left in place until a final disposition on how best to manage the injury is reached.

   For more:www.faretec.com; 800/322-3273.

BriteView Color Code Laryngoscope Blades from Hartwell Medical

   There are several good reasons to consider disposable laryngoscope blades given the many bugs and other bad things out in the land of infectious diseases. Because of that, improperly cleaned and/or poorly maintained hardware often causes big headaches down the line for EMS service providers, often at the end of a lawsuit.

   However, the convenience of a disposable blade doesn't mean much of anything if the device is too expensive to truly be a single-use throwaway. Nor is a blade worth considering if it performs poorly because it is so cheaply constructed. The optimal crossroad is where quality and value intersect, and that is indeed the case with the BriteView Color Code Laryngoscope blades from Hartwell Medical.

   Constructed of stainless steel from tip to heel keeps the BriteView blades from flexing or breaking under stress. Each blade is color-coded for instant size recognition, along with innovative package graphics making blade choice a snap even under low-light scenarios. In addition, each blade comes individually wrapped, so your entire blade set is well protected and easily stored. The BriteView blades feature a super bright light for excellent visibility and will fit any standard laryngoscope handle.

   The full set of BriteView laryngoscope blades includes five Miller blades from sizes 0-4 and four Macintosh blades sizes 1-4. Don't compromise product strength and reliability just to save cleaning costs and get the maintenance-free benefits of a single patient use blade. Get with your authorized Hartwell Medical dealer and take a look down a BriteView blade today.

   For more: www.hartwellmedical.com; 800/633-5900.

The LCSU3 Compact Suction Unit from Laerdal Medical

   Especially when it comes to trauma patients, it seems there are only two flavors: those who have vomited and those who are going to. Knowing that, there is NO excuse whatsoever not to have ready access to suction in your airway bag.

   The LCSU3 Compact Suction Unit from Laerdal Medical may be just what the doctor ordered. It's small and lightweight, coming in at 3.4 lbs. A state-of-the-art NiMH field-changeable battery pack will provide up to 45 minutes of continuous suction when the device isn't running on either AC or DC. There's a 300 ml catch on the unit that can be swapped out with an empty in less than 5 seconds.

   The controls are up top and easy to figure out: off/on, external power indicator, low battery indicator and the LED regulator display. Just turn the knob on the Variable Vacuum Regulator and you have from 50 to 550 mmHg of suction, depending upon the needs of the moment. A nice safety plus: The LCSU3 features an internal bacterial filter/fluid shutoff that kicks in should the unit get tipped over, preventing fluids from being sucked back into the pump.

   With decades of EMS product development behind them, pretty much anything I see with the word Laerdal on it equates with top quality in my mind. As such, I expect that the LCSU3 Compact Suction Unit will turn out to be a workhorse and worthy of the Laerdal name stamped on the side.

   For more: www.laerdal.com; 877/LAERDAL.

IntuBrite HyperVisualization System from IntuBrite, LLC

   My first thought when I looked at the IntuBrite HyperVisualization System was, "Well, that sure looks goofy." A closer examination and putting it to the test to pass a few ET tubes confirmed that this is anything but goofy.

   The handle has a unique ergonomic design that connects to the blade at a 45° angle; a far cry from the 90° design of the traditional laryngoscope. This angled design lends itself to the proper "lift away" technique vs. the never-acceptable "lever/fulcrum" technique, which greatly increases the likelihood of chipped teeth or other trauma.

   Next thing you notice is that the laryngoscope blades have not one but two lights featuring a white light with a black light set right behind it. This unique lighting combination causes the vocal cords to naturally phosphoresce, clearly lighting the path to a successful intubation. In addition, this dual-light system greatly limits the reflections from surrounding tissue or fluids, further improving identification of the vocal cords.

   Given the truly incredible improvements in overall visibility, it's hard to believe that these are single-use, disposable stainless steel blades, virtually eliminating cross contamination. Interestingly enough, the IntuBrite HyperVisualization System requires absolutely NO NEW TRAINING. You just proceed with the time-tested standard protocol for oral intubation, only now you will be doing the procedure with an entirely different view than ever before: the IntuBrite view.

   The IntuBrite HyperVisualization System comes with 10 blades (6 Miller, 4 Macintosh), 10 phosphorescent stylettes, one handle and a carry bag. This is a remarkable step forward in the world of intubation. If intubation is part of your practice, do yourself a favor and see how this bad boy works.

   For more: www.intubrite.com; 760/727-1900.

Electronic Training Record Management System from Medic-CE

   One of the more challenging aspects of obtaining online continuing medical education is maintaining a complete and accurate record of the classes you've completed. Of course, you need to remember to send your renewal paperwork in on time as well.

   Well, the folks at Medic-CE have an offer that looks too good to be true. The company is offering access and use of its electronic training record management absolutely FREE. In times of the shrinking dollar, the word free is pretty sweet to hear, and it is in fact what Medic-CE is putting on the table. The why of "free service" should be obvious: if you like the free training record maintenance offered by Medic-CE, you may decide to purchase some of their physician-authored continuing education programs.

   Whether you decide to buy any continuing education remains to be seen, but the free service they are offering is quite the deal. The entry and tracking process is simple and intuitive. With minimal effort, you can track all of your continuing education by specific categories and the software tracks them, along with calculating total CMEs acquired. The software will also track your license expiration dates and send you periodic reminders as the expiration date approaches.

   It's a great service that's easy to use, and it's free. What more can you want from a data management program? Log on and take a look at Medic-CE.com.

   For more: www.medic-ce.com; 877/458-9498.

LUCAS 2 Chest Compression System by Physio Control, Inc.

   I've heard it said over the years that "perfect CPR" only produces at best 33% of what the heart does normally, and it's more consistently closer to 10% out in the real world. If what we are reading in the literature relative to the importance of continuous, well-performed CPR and improving mortality and morbidity numbers continues to play out, we need to get with the program and make CPR performance a priority.

   While the initial interventions clearly need to be done by people, moving to mechanical interventions like the LUCAS 2 Chest Compression System as soon as possible is a no-brainer. CPR is performed in a physical position that is not considerate of your lower back, your abs (or lack of abs, as the case may be) or your knees. The longer people work in this physiologically challenging posture, the more likely they are to be injured. Do CPR in the back of a moving rig and the chance for physical injury grows exponentially, in addition to often poorly done CPR.

   The LUCAS 2 Chest Compression System takes people out of the compression business in a hurry. In less than 30 seconds, you can have the LUCAS 2 in place and functioning, thanks to an easy-to-work, 3-button operation. Driven by a state-of-the-art lithium polymer battery system, you can expect 45 minutes of continuous compressions before it's time to call in the cavalry for a new battery. A battery swap takes LESS than 5 seconds, and the LUCAS 2 Chest Compression System "remembers" the placement position during the swap out, allowing for a seamless resumption of chest compressions.

   If you would like to say no to extended codes with your personnel being the "tool" for compressions, check out the LUCAS 2 Chest Compression System today.

   For more: www.physio-control.com; 800/442-1142.

Müse Touch-Screen User Interface from METI

   Of all the training tools on the market, the evolution of patient simulators has been a mind-boggling event. Simple manikins that could barely produce a peripheral pulse are a relic of the past compared with the human patient simulators of today. But with sophistication of the hardware came equally sophisticated software that required a solid mastery to operate efficiently. Because of that high level of sophistication, the learning curve for the software to drive patient care was steep and required that you use it on a pretty regular basis just to maintain a decent level of proficiency.

   Well, the "PhD-required-to-operate" software days have been laid to rest by Müse Touch-Screen User Interface from METI patient simulators. First off, the Müse software is what would be termed "platform agnostic," so it will wirelessly connect to your network irrespective of whether you are Mac or PC-based.

   You can quickly and easily author a scenario, including drug therapy and other treatments, using drag-and-drop technology. In what is termed your widget display, you get 25 choices including BP, EKG, pulse, respirations, SpO2, capnometry...and the list goes on. For the most part, if you want to see it, Müse makes it happen.

   The intuitive nature of Müse is impressive, making it truly simple to operate. When you are looking at the Run Screen, you can actually control every element of the scenario from one spot with the tap of one finger. Can it get any simpler than that? Best of all, with that simplicity of use comes the ability to spend less time thinking about technology and more time thinking about learning. Now that's a concept worth embracing!

   For more: www.meti.com; 866-233-METI(6384).

Triangle of Safety from Road Rescue

   While your ambulance may be the base of operations from which you operate, you must never forget that the biggest difference from a traditional office is that yours is usually moving while you are working in it. Strangely, most of us think that we are pretty safe as we hurtle down the road. Of course, ambulance crash data tells a far different story, and if you are unsecured in an ambulance that is involved in even a moderate crash, your chance of getting injured is almost a certainty.

   In an effort to help make vehicles safer, Road Rescue has introduced the Triangle of Safety, whereby they have combined technology with the layout of the patient care compartment to create a safer work environment.

   To do this, Road Rescue took a quantum leap and removed the bench seat, which is arguably one of the most useless ideas ever, since rarely, if ever, is a second patient transported in that position. This allows for a third seat to be placed and increases overall workspace.

   The Triangle of Safety involves several different components. A LED display panel provides the driver with valuable information: A red LED means someone is in the seat but not buckled in; a yellow LED indicates the belt is buckled but no one is seated; a green LED indicates to the driver that the person is both seated and buckled in. An additional audible alarm sounds when occupant(s) are seated but not buckled in.

   All three seats swivel, allowing providers to face forward for optimum safety, but they can rotate toward the patient for maximum access to provide patient care. Each seat can lock in any of four different positions, giving you multiple choices while still being secured in the seat.

   Ambulance safety will not simply occur on its own. It will require that our workforce be more committed to the concept and then utilize innovations like the Triangle of Safety concept from Road Rescue.

   For more: www.roadrescue.com; 843/676-2900.

Sam Pelvic Sling II from SAM Medical Products

   Of all the many injuries we encounter in EMS, pelvic fractures seem to create more outright pain and suffering than almost anything else, other than burns. In addition, an unstable pelvis can be incredibly difficult to manage if for no other reason than a pelvic fracture is rarely an isolated injury. Put any human being through a mechanical event that can fracture a pelvis, and it is almost 100% certain there are other significant injuries as well. Those other injuries can complicate matters further, given that a pelvic fracture is a potentially life-threatening injury.

   To best meet the challenge of splinting a fractured pelvis, you need a splint with some unique characteristics, and that points toward the SAM Pelvic Sling II from SAM Medical Products. Building on the success of their original pelvic sling, this generation is even more compact and easy to use, requiring just three steps to place and secure the splint. The splint is remarkably thin and features a low-friction posterior slider that facilitates easier placement and removal. Once in place, the patented Autostop buckle will not allow a compression force greater than 33 lbs., thus preventing inadvertent overtightening.

   The Sam Pelvic Sling II is a one-piece reusable device that fits approximately 98% of the adult population. Because it is radiolucent, x-rays can be taken without putting the patient through the pain and misery of removal and reapplication.

   To optimize your patient care efforts when a pelvic fracture is present, look to a splint that has scientifically and clinically been shown to stabilize pelvic fractures: the SAM Pelvic Sling II.

   For more: www.sammedical.com; 800/818-4726.

Child Heart and Lung Sounds Trainer from Simulaids

   Given the relative infrequency with which field providers encounter really sick or injured kids, ANY training tool, device or service that could potentially improve the care we provide to these often-challenging patients catches my eye immediately.

   The Child Heart and Lungs Sounds Trainer from Simulaids is one of those tools. The manikin comes fully assembled and mounted to a sturdy base that allows easy access for students to perform assessments. All the software comes already installed, making the trainer a turn-key operation.

   The trainer operates from a wireless remote or can be hardwired to a monitor and a mouse. A collection of 10 lung speakers and a heart speaker are positioned anatomically in the correct locations for use during a pediatric assessment.

   The menu offers a diverse range of assessment opportunities, with a total of 23 choices overall. There are 10 different lung sounds, including asthma, pneumonia, stridor, inspiratory crackles, etc.; seven options in heart sounds, including atrial and ventricular septal defect, congenital aortic stenosis and patent ductus arteriosus; and six so-called voice sounds, including cough, crying, gasp, gurgling, etc. Both the lung and heart sounds are reasonably realistic, but the voice sounds (especially crying) are not quite as realistic. Then again, it's the lung and heart sounds that make up the backbone of what this product has to offer.

   The trainer comes with a power cord, informative yet reasonably simple user reference materials and a carry case. Interested in beefing up that peds heart and lung sounds fund of knowledge? Then check this little guy out.

   For more: www.simulaids.com; 800/431-4310.

SPECTRO2 Pulse Oximetry Portfolio from Smiths Medical North America

   Appropriate use of diagnostic technology is a must if you wish to deliver quality prehospital care. Of course, to have real value in prehospital medicine, any technology needs to be built tough and user-friendly if it's going to make the grade in field medicine.

   The SPECTRO2 Pulse Oximetry unit looks to be a contender in my mind, and I'll tell you why. The first thing you see is a large visual LED display that is almost 50% larger than comparable handheld units. It's easy to see from anywhere in the rig and most places in a room.

   Combining advanced BCI technology with their patented Serial Autocorrelation digital technology, you get reliable performance in both low-perfusion states and increased motion tolerance. To support your site choice, a pulse amplitude index (PI) indicator provides instant information relative to signal quality. Visual and audible alarms immediately alert you to upcoming as well as immediate problems, e.g., disconnected probe, low battery state, etc. It's all packed inside a durable but remarkably tight case that measures only 6" x 3½", and weighs in at a mere ¾ of a pound. Lots of performance, but minimal weight added to your airway bag; a nice combination of form and function.

   You get lots of choices when it comes to a power supply. Two AA alkaline batteries will provide about 17 hours of continuous operation. Step up to rechargeable lithium ion batteries and you are looking at around 30 hours of continuous use. You can also use A/C or plug it in in the back of the rig. An on-board sensor storage cradle keeps the sensor protected but readily accessible. The docking station will recharge the device and an additional backup lithium ion battery simultaneously. Another nice feature is the 20"-long patient cable, which helps to minimize those untangle-the-cable moments. One last plus: The SPECTRO2 Pulse Oximetry series is compatible with all BCI reusable and disposable sensors.

   For more: www.smiths-medical.com; 800/558-2345.

RescueNet Link System from ZOLL

   Every month, a new product or two will hit the streets, with pretty much each and every one claiming to solve this problem or way outperform that product. Truth be known, some products deliver; others just don't measure up.

   One product that delivers on its promises in a big way is the RescueNet Link from ZOLL. Without any user intervention, the Sense and Synch technology provides seamless information-sharing between ZOLL's E Series monitor/defibrillator, the RescueNet ePCR and the RescueNet Navigator vehicle mapping.

   All three systems automatically upload critical information to a large vehicle display. Once you have determined your destination hospital, the system goes into automatic mode and the same information you are seeing on your rig display can be simultaneously viewed by the ED staff in real time, allowing them to be fully prepared for the arrival of your patient. If you run a 12-lead, the hospital sees it exactly when you do. As you continue to assess your patient and acquire new information, once entered into ePCR, this updated information appears on your monitor and theirs.

   As the Navigator calculates the best route to your destination, you get realistic ETAs. Once again, this information migrates to the large display screen and, if they are online and monitoring, to the receiving facility as well.

   The RescueNet Link from ZOLL is incredibly well-thought-out, has a very intuitive design, and the touch-screen controls make the entire system easy to use. And let's face it: When you've got medicine to do in the back of the box, the last thing you need is a cumbersome communications process. RescueNet Link is the state-of-the-art solution for seamless, real-time information-sharing in the prehospital setting.

   For more: www.zoll.com; 800 348-9011.

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