Tahoe Institute for Rural Health Research

Current Projects

I. Critical Care Product:
PACE (Protocols and Algorithms for Critical Events) will meet an urgent need in operating and emergency rooms of smaller hospitals. The PACE will provide rapid access to the precise Critical Care Algorithms needed to stabilize a patient during a medical emergency and provide HIPAA  a compliant a record of the event. The product will guide the medical staff step by step through the prescribed protocols, while recording critical information for inclusion in the patient’s medical record and availability for “data mining by the supported institution.” Improved outcomes are expected, particularly in smaller hospitals where patient symptoms, requiring use of these algorithms, is infrequent. TIRHR has filed a Patent Application for this product.

II. Home Blood Monitoring:
A portable blood count monitoring device is being designed that will rapidly and accurately monitor a patient's blood count at home or in a clinician’s office. The system is designed for home use by patients who require ongoing blood count monitoring such as those who have undergone chemotherapy or major surgery, or those fighting a significant infection. The blood sample will be acquired by a simple finger stick similar to a glucose meter. The device will provide HIPAA compliant remote reporting of the results to the doctor's office, allowing the condition of the patient to be assessed daily. It will also be a meaningful tool in clinics or other medical settings that do not have more sophisticated blood-monitoring devices on site. The ability to monitor a patient's blood count quickly and  inexpensively, without utilizing a hospital lab or phlebotomist, will reduce health care costs and will allow for more frequent monitoring, thereby improving quality of care. In its initial stages partial funding for this project has been provided by the National Science Foundation. Patent Applications have been filed for this product.

III. Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) Diagnosis:
This project is attempting to develop a simple, portable, self-contained sideline diagnostic system for the identification of mTBI. Phase- 1 of the device would provide objective information that can be used to help determine when team sports participants should be sidelined. Phase-II would be used to provide information that would help determine when they were healthy and able to return to play. The goal is to prevent athletes from suffering successive head impacts when the brain is already injured resulting in more severe brain trauma. This research is being conducted with the cooperation of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, Feather River College, the University of Nevada, the Tahoe Forest Hospital Emergency Room, Incline Village Community Hospital Emergency Room and the emergency clinics at local ski resorts. Representatives of TFHS and TIRHR are working within the region to test athletes and to educate parents, coaches, athletic trainers and athletes about concussion treatment and prevention. Particular emphasis has been placed on the danger of successive impacts to a brain already mildly injured. TIRHR is sponsoring the Play It Safe Concussion Care Program for all student athletes in contact sports within the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District which provides excess insurance for proper treatment of concussion injuries.

IV. Home Vital Signs Monitor:
TIRHR has sponsored the initial research for the creation of a vital signs monitor which is currently being developed by an affiliated company, Cardiac Motion LLC. This company has received an initial grant from the National Science Foundation to continue development of this exciting technology.