Digital technology saves lives

Digital technology saves lives

In the last two weeks, the situation has almost always been similar: on the highway, heavy trucks crash almost without braking into trucks stuck in a traffic jam and push them onto other vehicles. The balance is tragic. Several dead and many partly seriously injured drivers. Always on the scene, the rescue teams and the fire department, trying to save lives – even with modern technology like the NIDA-pad, the emergency information and documentation system assistant.

The alarm message

Christian ganzinger of the kitzingen red cross was on duty on one of these days as a rescue service dispatcher, and his alarm came in one afternoon: "serious truck accident on the highway at dettelbacher berg". At least one person trapped." This was the message from the control center. The rescue service arrived with several vehicles and the emergency doctor. Ganzinger coordinated the operation and registered the lightly and seriously injured.

Tangle of steel

In the last truck in the traffic jam, the driver was trapped behind his wheel in a tangle of steel and sheet metal. The fire department slowly and carefully worked its way to the injured man using rescue equipment. The emergency doctor tried to get first insights. The results were devastating: the driver's legs and pelvis were crushed, internal injuries probable.


Ganzinger's first problem was to find a hospital that could accept a patient with this degree of injury. NIDA, a tablet PC specially developed for documenting patient data, is now in use. "Emergency information and documentation system assistant" is the official name of the robust device.

Initial information

All of the doctor's initial information is stored on the device by the incident commander. In the meantime, the university of wurzburg has agreed to take over the patient. But she urgently needs closer information for the preparation. Minutes later, the clinic has all the data obtained so far on the patient, as well as his initial emergency diagnosis.

Data transmitted

These findings are transmitted digitally directly to the emergency room of the university hospital, where they are available to the medical staff on a large screen. Little by little, updated data arrive from the accident site. Finally, the message that the patient is on the way to the university – with the time of arrival.

In addition, the doctors are fed images of the trapped patient via NIDA. "This is important so that the doctor can get a picture of the accident kinematics, which forces from which direction have impacted on the injured person," says the head of the kitzingen rescue service, sven appold. He speaks of "high-speed trauma", which can only be explained by the direct image of the accident situation.

Not just for accidents

But it is not only in the case of serious accidents that the NIDA has proved its worth. Senior physician christian sommer from the kitzinger land hospital, who is also responsible for the emergency department, is enthusiastic about the system: "for example, we receive a complete ekg from the ambulance service for patients who have had a heart attack." Furthermore, blood pressure, pulse and oxygen saturation can be recognized in advance.


"Long before the ambulance arrives at the emergency room of the clinic, we are able to prepare for the situation," explains the doctor and adds: "an invaluable advantage for both doctor and patient."According to information from sven appold, the kitzingen red cross was one of the first district associations in bavaria to use the system. In a pilot project five years ago, individual ambulances were equipped with NIDA. "The experience has been exceptionally good," says appold. He is also a member of the national telematics steering group and reports that the system is updated year by year. In the meantime, every ambulance in bavaria is equipped with NIDA.


Recently, a presentation of many known diseases with symbolized images on the screen of the NIDA has also been helpful. With a translation program for almost all languages. "All motorists who pass through us and do not speak german, but have problems, can be questioned in detail about illnesses or injuries," appold continued.

65 are there

Thomas schreiner, press spokesman for the center for telemedicine (ZTM) in bad kissingen, reports that 65 hospitals in bavaria are currently working with the NIDA system. The company ZTM is responsible for the installation and application of the NIDA programs and, according to schreiner, hopes that in one or two years every major hospital will be connected to this system. A difficult goal, as some hospitals have already rejected the program for cost reasons.

"An inestimable advantage

For doctor and patient."


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