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Human Research Program

Medical Consumables Tracking-GRC

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Medical Consumables Tracking-GRC
This task will identify current practices and develop controls, processes, and technical solutions to accurately track the inventory of medical consumables. When shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) medical kits are returned to Earth, fewer medical consumables remain in the medical kits than would be expected based on reported use by the astronauts. This is significant because the possibility exists that exploration missions could be undersupplied and run the risk of not being able to treat an ill or injured crewmember, particularly given the small volume available for the medical kits. This task will identify current practices and develop controls, processes, and technical solutions to accurately track the inventory of medical consumables. The Medical Consumables Tracking (MCT) system will utilize an electronic identification system comprised of a reader/scanner/interrogator and a transponder. The system will address insufficient tracking of medication and medical consumables usage on the ISS. An electronic tag will be placed on each package. Periodically the system will be powered and contents within the Resource Supply Rack (RSR) storage locker will be inventoried. The information in the MCT database will be downlinked to the Health Management System (HMS) Inventory Tracking Tool (HITT), which contains medical inventory information to be accessed on the ground. Results to date (Preliminary Design Review level) indicate that using an RFID tag (electronic tag) to read a highly dense population of medical items (including liquids, pharmaceuticals of a dielectric nature, and metal wrapped packaging) and achieve the minimum accuracy is feasible. Specific aims: 1. Track medical consumables and medications accessed with an accuracy of 95% or better 2. No additional scheduled crew time to access a medication or medical consumable 3. Work in a microgravity environment 4. Work in space vehicles that have electronically noisy environments 5. Encrypted data transfer 6. To know how much of a particular medication is available 7. Read the electronic ID tagged items inside of Convenience Medications Pack 8. Have the ability to scale; to track small quantities or large quantities of medicines and medical consumables. More »

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