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ENGL 210 502

Improving Emergency Healthcare Accessibility Using Medical

Drones

Zeinab Ataya UIN: 425001224

Ahmad Al-Sadi UIN: 724006589

Yamen Zaza UIN: 924007663

Ali Al-Ansari UIN: 324006534

Submission Date: 2nd of February 2017

Professor: Amy Hodges


Table of Contents

1.0 Overview ............................................................................................................................................. 3


2.0 - Significance of Problem ...................................................................................................................... 4
3.0 - Proposed Solution ............................................................................................................................... 5
3.1 Procedure........................................................................................................................................... 5
3.2 - Specialized Drones .......................................................................................................................... 6
3.3 - Key Features of the Medical Drones: ............................................................................................. 7
i) Auto-Pilot.......................................................................................................................................... 7
ii) GPS Flight Assistance...................................................................................................................... 7
iii) Coming Home ................................................................................................................................. 7
iv) Camera ............................................................................................................................................ 7
v) Motion Detector .............................................................................................................................. 7
vi) Electric Powered ............................................................................................................................ 8
vii) Weather Adaptability ................................................................................................................... 8
3.4 - Target Market .................................................................................................................................. 8
4.0 - Design Constraints ............................................................................................................................ 10
4.1 - Battery ........................................................................................................................................... 10
4.2 - Weather conditions....................................................................................................................... 10
4.3 - Privacy ........................................................................................................................................... 10
5.0 - Current Drones in the Market .......................................................................................................... 11
5.1- Allied Drones [9] ............................................................................................................................ 11
5.2 - DJI Matrice 600 Pro [10]............................................................................................................... 11
5.3 - Flytrex Sky [11] ............................................................................................................................. 12
6.0 - Benefits of Emergency Medical Drones ........................................................................................... 12
6.1 - Efficiency........................................................................................................................................ 12
6.2 Convenience .................................................................................................................................. 12
6.3 - Accessibility ................................................................................................................................... 13
7.0 - Conclusion ......................................................................................................................................... 14
8.0 References......................................................................................................................................... 15
1.0 Overview
Like many places which use automobiles as the main method of transport, Qatar is
commonplace to road accidents. The Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics
released monthly statistics highlighting that fatal road accidents claimed the lives of 80
people across Qatar over the first half of 2016 [1]. According to Dr. Rafael Consunji, a Trauma
Surgery Section Injury Prevention director from Hamad General Hospital (HGH), 71% of
these deaths happen on the scene of the accident [2]. As a result, to reduce the number of
fatalities; medical drones are the next step towards improving emergency healthcare
accessibility and resolving a serious and ongoing issue in Qatar.

Another issue which has caught the attention of international news outlets and safety
organizations such as Amnesty International, is the increasing number of accidents and
deaths occurring at construction sites [3]. By implementing medical drones, we can ensure
that the number of fatal accidents will decrease due to a faster response rate to emergencies.
In addition, medical drones can be very useful when being sent to construction sites where
the accident happens at elevated locations which would take longer to reach if pursued by
other methods.

Improving healthcare accessibility using medical drones can help progress the industry and
improve its efficiency when dealing with fatal accidents that could save seconds of an
individuals life. Medical drones are revolutionary and this report is just the beginning
towards developing smart technologies that can benefit and improve our lives.
2.0 - Significance of Problem
The two most popular methods of reacting to a 999 alert, are van-based ambulances and
helicopter ambulances, each of which poses their own flaws over time. In the Gulf, van-based
ambulances suffer from severe traffic congestion, especially during the day. According to
Gulf News, the ignorance of many motorists on the street is becoming a larger problem every
day, which in turn has led to the start of many campaigns in Qatar and Dubai [4]. They explain
further that the sight of an ambulance stuck on a busy road is a recurring scene, signaling
how some lives are put in danger due to mere traffic.

On the other hand, Air Ambulance services can only be dispatched to reach otherwise
isolated areas or to aid patients that are in extremely urgent cases. Also, the topic of when to
dispatch a helicopter ambulance remains a highly debated topic among the various
emergency medical service (EMS) providers, as pointed out and studied extensively by the
American College of Emergency Physicians [5].

Not only that, but the request for immediate assistance through 999 is not always justified.
Too often, many resources are invested in cases that wouldve easily been dealt with were
there other forms of service. Karen Auge, a Denver Post reporter, talks about this conflict in
detail. According to Auge, many emergency calls arent emergencies at all but are medical
situations best handled in a doctors office [6]. Yet again, we see this trend not only evident
in the more Western part of the world, but right in the heart of the Gulf region. The Peninsula,
in a recent post, claims that the Qatari EMS receives 5,000 to 6,000 calls per day, 80% of
which are non-urgent [7]. Although Qatar has taken steps to resolve such arising issues, such
as introducing special ambulances that are meant to take care of patients mobility and non-
urgent use, the conflict with traffic in this small country still hinders many of those well-
intentioned programs.

Also, most of those vehicles are used to transport patients that are already being taken care
of in one hospital or to offer pre-registered assistance [8]. There is no success to be found of
a service that offers simultaneous and immediate medical assistance to patients throughout
the country.

The problems of cost, traffic, drivers ignorance, and non-urgent assistance requests remain
unsolved problems in an increasingly technological world.

3.0 - Proposed Solution


One of the visions of Qatar 2030 is for Qatar to significantly improve its healthcare sector.
Thus, to enhance the efficiency and functionality of medical services, our company Q-Drones
is introducing Specialized Emergency Medical Drones to achieve this vision. When
developing our drone technology, we do not aim to replace ambulances all together because
in some cases, the individual needs to be relocated to a hospital for further aid. Rather, the
drones would be used in cases such as:

1. When there is no need for ambulance/medical personnel to be at the scene like non-
urgent emergencies
2. When an accident is life-threatening and the drone could be sent out to reach the
scene earlier (to offer the needed medication) before an ambulance can arrive.

The first few minutes after an accident are critical and it is vital to provide the correct
medical attention to thwart further complications. Thus, accelerating the response rate is
one of the core goals of our project.

3.1 Procedure
The image below shows the operation cycle of an emergency medical drone. It explains the
necessary steps when responding to an emergency.
When the emergency department is notified with a serious accident, the appropriate medical
drone would be sent out to the specified location within 8-10 minutes travelling at speeds
up to 45 mph, 400ft above the ground. The specifications of our drones are designed to be
similar to match those which are currently competitive in the market such as the Allied
Drones HL48 "Chaos" and the DJI Matrice 600 Pro.

3.2 - Specialized Drones


To enhance the functionality of the medical drones, different medical drones can be
manufactured to serve specific cases. For example, an individual suffering from cardiac
arrest can be sent a drone containing a CPR kit. The advantage towards having specialized
drones is reducing the load of the drone so that it could travel at a faster velocity.

Each of the medical drones could carry up to 12 Kg of aid which can include lifesaving
technologies, such as:

Specific medication
Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
Emergency Allergy Shots
General First-Aid Kits
3.3 - Key Features of the Medical Drones:
i) Auto-Pilot
The medical drones are autonomous, which means that they can operate freely without the
need for human interaction. This gives way for multiple drones to be flown at once without
worrying about having an active team flying all the drones which reduces costs on human
resources and training.

Autonomous drones are also free from human error which can significantly reduce the
chances of accidents. However, when needed, an operator can choose to control the drone
when problems arise such as a fault with the navigation system.

ii) GPS Flight Assistance


The advanced navigation software allows the drone to take the most optimal route towards
the desired location in order to reduce the flight time. The system also instructs the drone
where to fly (avoiding passing over private property), at what height and what speed.

iii) Coming Home


The feature allows the drone to automatically fly back directly to the medical center through
radio control after it has delivered the necessary aid.

iv) Camera
A camera would be attached to the drone to facilitate multiple tasks. The main task of the
camera is to provide instructions to the people at the accident scene. Along with a built-in
speaker, an operator could instruct the individual the steps regarding how to use any of the
equipment. The secondary task of the camera is to monitor traffic when flying to the
accidents location so that if an ambulance is needed, it could indicate which roads are best
to avoid due to traffic.

v) Motion Detector
The motion detector analyzes the drones surroundings around a five-meter radius to avoid
any mid-air collisions that would disrupt the flight or damage any of the components.
vi) Electric Powered
This is a resourceful method of powering the drone without causing much harm to the
environment. The batteries are rechargeable (have a 50-minute battery life) and contain
fiber-optic like wires to ensure efficient energy transfer and immediate responses to the
operator. In addition, there is a secondary battery pack plugged to the drone in case the
drone was flying for a longer period. *See section 4.1 under design constraints for more
information.

vii) Weather Adaptability


The carbon fiber material covering the drone is waterproof so that it could tolerate rainy
conditions as well as being able to withstand strong winds and to some extent, lighting
strikes.

3.4 - Target Market


Since our product is strictly focused on the healthcare sector, our ideal target market will be
the various emergency medical centers scattered across Doha, Qatar. Medical drones will be
a beneficial addition to the emergency team as they are more effective and have a faster
response rate (8-10 seconds response time) when compared with ambulances (10-15
minutes) and medical personnel [9]

Also, it is important to note that not all the listed medical centers can dispatch ambulances.
This is because not every medical center has the necessary capital and human resources to
facilitate an emergency service. Thus, medical drones are a convenient alternative as they do
not require much resources and cost very little (30,000 Riyals) when compared to a van-
ambulance (250,000+ Riyals). *See section 6.0 which explains more benefits as to why
drones are better than their current counterparts.

The picture below shows all the medical centers currently available around Qatar.
The Medical Centers Which Offer Emergency Services

Our initial aim is to provide 5 drones to the main medical center (Hamad Medical Center)
and study how much they are used and how effective they are. Hamad Medical Center was
chosen as the likely candidate for our study because it is the main healthcare center in Qatar
and it receives the most emergencies per day [9]. Once a full analysis has been conducted for
a period of 6 months, a data report can be produced and shared with the rest of the medical
centers to potentially convince them to buy the product.

The report will focus on the effectiveness of the medical drones. Our criteria for effectiveness
are:

The number of successful uses of the medical drones


Success rate ratio of whether the drones created an impact when being sent in
conjunction with an ambulance
The speed and time it takes for the drone to arrive at an accident
Patient will be surveyed whether an operator offering instructions through the drone
(during non-drastic injuries) is an alternative to medical personnel being present at
the scene
In addition, our product will be showcased in the next Healthcare Convention to attract and
convince further the medical centers that medical drones are next step towards improving
emergency healthcare accessibility while also looking for potential investors and suppliers.

The market for this product not only serves for emergency circumstances but the scope can
range to medical deliveries (blood supplies) and search and rescue missions whereby the
drones can be used to aid firefighters and emergency personnel to rescue people in danger.

4.0 - Design Constraints


4.1 - Battery
A team of electrical and chemical engineers developed a highly durable lithium polymer
battery that can last up to 50 minutes. However, the voltage and current of the batteries
varies according to the range and weight load capacity of the drone. The voltage and the
current can go up to 22.2 V and 22,000 mAh [10].

4.2 - Weather conditions


The drones are made of carbon fiber which protects their body from corrosion and different
weather conditions such as rain or dust. Also, the course of the drone is not affected by severe
weather changes such as dust, rain, or wind as they are controlled by a GPS system that
accurately leads them to the right destination.

4.3 - Privacy
Although the drones are equipped with cameras, they do not pose any threat on the privacy
or safety of citizens as the drone cameras are monitored by the government and can only be
used for medical purposes and improving the accuracy of the location of patients.
5.0 - Current Drones in the Market
Below are three drones are which acquire the best specifications in the current market. Our
aim is to develop technologies that would compete with these drones. Since our drones are
non-commercial and will be used for medical purposes, the specifications can be improved
further to satisfy our main goal.

5.1- Allied Drones [11]

Maximum Flight Weight Load Connection


Time Capacity Range Feature Specification
Price $ 20,000
Dimensions 1574.8 x 1574.8 x 457.2
45 minutes 6.8 20 Km mm
Kg
Body Material Carbon Fiber
Speed 13.4 m/s
GPS Yes
Compatibility

5.2 - DJI Matrice 600 Pro [12]

Maximum Flight Weight Load Connection Feature Specification


Time Capacity Range
Price $ 5000
Wingspan 1668 x 1518 x 727 mm
Body Material Carbon Fiber
32 minutes 6 5 Km
Kg Speed 17 m/s
GPS Yes
Compatibility
5.3 - Flytrex Sky [13]
Feature Specification
Maximum Flight Weight Load Connection
Time Capacity Range Price $ 999
Dimensions 273 223 107 mm
2 Body Material Carbon Fiber
Kg
2 Km Speed 15 m/s
29 minutes
GPS Yes
Compatibility

6.0 - Benefits of Emergency Medical Drones


6.1 - Efficiency
Integrating the drone system into the current medical structure will push Qatar one step
closer to fulfilling its 2030 vision where improving healthcare is a main priority. Our goal is
to provide a better alternative to the standard healthcare solutions using drones.

Having a sleek body design, the drones are less restricted when maneuvering compared to
current transportation means because the drones aerodynamics along with the quadrotors
provide enough thrust power to lift the payload without degrading the speed factor. This
aspect comes in handy when dealing with situations in which the patient is stuck in traffic or
trapped inside a building. The medical drone will be able to land and move on ground thanks
to the special wheels that will be attached to its base to prevent unnecessary damage to the
body and expand the range of motion to include on and off ground movement. In other
words, drones will not only save time, but also may save more lives than common methods
used.

6.2 Convenience
To make Doha a smart city, easy operating mechanisms along with automated functionality
are required to achieve that goal. Drone stations are easy to operate and will immediately
function accordingly. This is very crucial because even though Doha has a relatively quick
medical transportation system, statistics from police departments show that it takes an
ambulance 15 minutes to reach its destination through the fastest route possible [9]. As
Qatars population increases, the resulted traffic will cause more challenges that will make
the traditional medical system inefficient.

One of the drones main functions is autonomous piloting in which the drone will make use
of its built-in GPS system and navigation system to arrive to its destination. A main control
center will also track and provide the drones coordinates with respect to other drones. Thus,
the likelihood of errors is very low when compared to human errors. When necessary, the
drones will offer a manual control option in which professional operators will take control if
the situation requires so.

For the convenience of the medical staff, the medical drone system is operated by simple
commands which will only direct the drone to the required medical equipment and to the
patients location. Our simple user interface will reduce certain complications the hospital
staff face might face.

Also, the drones will make use of its built-in camera and speakers to communicate verbal
commands to the patients making the process more responsive. In case a doctor needs to ask
questions or give out specific procedures, the camera can start a live feed of the patient.

Furthermore, the complexity of the drone allows it to perform multiple tasks at a time
without disrupting its responsiveness. In the context of this project, drones can act as
surveillance drones that can recognize accidents and traffic flow to provide such crucial
information to the operations center to act accordingly, making drones helpful in many
scenarios.

6.3 - Accessibility
Synchronizing Hamads Medical Hospital (HMC) services with what drones are capable of
will result in smoother operation and faster feedback to reach the patient.

Drone stations will be available in multiple locations to ensure a better, more accessible
service. The stations will be equipped with the essential medical tools in a form of medical
crates that are pre-assembled to aid common incidents. The drones will have an integrated
bar code system to identify and pick up the prescribed crate to be delivered. Drone stations
will also have landing pads that will automatically start charging the drone once it lands on
it. Different drones will have different landing pads that will categorize the drones with
respect to the specific usage of that drone. This is because drones that fly longer distances
have a stronger battery pack which needs different power supplies.

The drone station will be built to allow takeoff from a higher altitude. The reason being is
that the earths lowest atmosphere layer, known as the troposphere, is home to most of the
atmospheric changes which will result in a poor performance and an increase in
software/hardware errors. For instance, taking off from a higher altitude in case of a foggy
weather will ensure better vision from the drones built-in cameras. Furthermore, drone
stations will be located in accident-heavy areas which will provide medical services in an
agile manner leaving no patients left behind around the clock.

On the long run, drone stations, will enhance the medical aid system as not all hospitals can
dispatch ambulances. A network system of drone stations will cover most of the areas within
and Doha, making accessible to most of the population.

In addition, with drone stations being built next to hospitals, we will be able to cover most of
the common injuries as any required medication can be escorted by hospital personnel to
the drone station. Thus, many lives will be saved whether the scenario is an injury or a
required dose of medication making the system a bit more flexible and adaptive.

7.0 - Conclusion
Health and hospitalization are becoming increasingly vital concerns, especially in Qatar. Due
to various existing problems in the hospitalization methods that are present locally, the
EMSs1 need for new technological aids is growing larger every day. Drones have proven to
offer fast and reliable transportation methodology for mild medical needs or urgent calls
where contemporary methods are deemed inefficient. A network of many unique
autonomous medical drones will bring Qatar a step closer towards its vision. This network
will not only save Qatar many unnecessary costs, but also help save a life when one second
can be the deciding factor.

1
Emergency Medical Services
8.0 References
[1:3] Qatar Scoop Staff. 80 People Killed Fatal Road Accidents in Qatar. [Aug 16, 2016]
Internet:http://www.qatarscoop.com/news/80-people-killed-fatal-road-accidents-in-qatar-
473-accidents-in-madinat-khalifa-303-road-crashes-in-al-maamoura/ [Accessed: Feb 12, 2017]

[2:3] CW Staff. Construction accidents on the rise in Qatar. [Feb 11, 2013]
Internet:http://www.constructionweekonline.com/article-20865-construction-accidents-on-
the-rise-in-qatar/#.UYea_LVTDms [Accessed: Feb 12, 2017]

[3:3] Amnesty International. Qatar: Migrant workers still at risk of abuse despite reforms. [Dec
12 2016]
Internet:https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/qatar/report-
qatar/ [Accessed: Feb 12, 2017]

[4:4] J. A. Tamimi, "Ambulance service: Every second counts in saving a life. [2011]
Available: http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/emergencies/ambulance-service-every-second-
counts-in-saving-a-life-1.765059. [Accessed: Feb 12, 2017]

[5:4] American College of Emergency Physicians and National Association of EMS Physicians,
Guidelines for Air Medical Dispatch. [2007] Available:
https://www.acep.org/uploadedFiles/ACEP/Practice_Resources/issues_by_category/Emergenc
y_Medical_Services/GuidelinesForAirMedDisp.pdf. [Accessed: Feb. 28, 2017]

[6:4] K. Aug, "911 non-emergencies a growing problem nationwide."[2009].


Available: http://www.denverpost.com/2009/12/28/911-non-emergencies-a-growing-problem-
nationwide/ [Accessed: Feb 12, 2017]

[7:4] F. Saleem, "HMC introduces special ambulances," The Peninsula Qatar, 2016. [Online].
Available: https://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/15/11/2016/HMC-introduces-special-
ambulances. [Accessed: Feb. 28, 2017]

[8:4] Doha News. Only 10% of 999 Calls in Qatar for Real Emergencies [Oct 19 2014]
https://dohanews.co/moi-official-10-pc-999-calls-real-emergencies/ [Accessed: Feb 12, 2017]

[9:9] Hamad Medical Cooperation. Emergency Department. [n.d.]


Website: https://www.hamad.qa/EN/Patient-Information/Emergency-Departments/Pages/default.aspx
[Accessed: Feb 12, 2017]

[10:10] Compare Drones, Compare Drones - Search, Find, and Compare Drone Specs. [Online].
Internet: http://drones.specout.com/. [Accessed: 28-Feb-2017].

[11:11] Graphiq. Allied Drones HL48 "Chaos" [n.d.]


Internet: http://drones.specout.com/l/140/Allied-Drones-HL48-Chaos. [Accessed: 12-Feb-2017]
[12:11] Graphiq. DJI Matrice 600 Pro (M600 Pro). [n.d.]
Internet: http://drones.specout.com/l/1125/DJI-Matrice-600-Pro-M600-Pro. [Accessed: Feb 12,
2017]

[13:12] Graphiq. Flytrex Sky. [n.d.]


Internet: http://drones.specout.com/l/327/Flytrex-Sky. [Accessed: Feb 12, 2017]