U of T researchers study network to send drones to those in cardiac arrest

Researchers have created a hypothetical network of drones across Ontario that would deliver life-saving defibrillators to those experiencing cardiac arrest.

University of Toronto's Timothy Chan (left), Angela Schoellig and Justin Boutilier (right) are part of a research team trying to use drones to deliver AEDs.University of Toronto’s Timothy Chan (left), Angela Schoellig and Justin Boutilier (right) are part of a research team trying to use drones to deliver AEDs. 

Researchers at the University of Toronto are imagining a world where drones can help paramedics save lives.

Although still in its preliminary stages, they have created a hypothetical network of drones across Ontario that would deliver life-saving defibrillators to those in cardiac arrest.

“The benefits could be huge,” said U of T researcher Timothy Chan, an associate professor of industrial engineering who is also the director of the Centre for Healthcare Engineering.

The “paradox” of cardiac arrest, he said, is that interventions in this field are focused on publicaccess to AED’s, although 80 per cent of cardiac arrest occurs in private residences.

(He also found that many life-saving defibrillators are inaccessible to the public during off-hours and evenings, when most incidents of cardiac arrest occur.)

Inspired by a similar program he saw in Europe, Chan and his team began looking at cardiac arrest data across eight large geographic regions from Toronto to Muskoka.

 

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