With expected military budget cuts over the next few years, some defense contractors are now looking to utilize their technology expertise to create healthcare-related products.
Defense contractors are investing millions of dollars into research and development in the medical technology market, reported the Orlando Sentinel. At the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference in Orlando, numerous defense contractors displayed new medical technology at the trade show’s first ever Healthcare Pavilion.
"Simulation technology in health care has been an exploding field in recent years," said John Williams, a spokesman for the National Simulation & Training Association, the Washington trade group that sponsors the annual conference and show.
Lockheed Martin displayed a virtual, intensive-care "command center" at the conference, reported the Sentinel. The command center features a high-speed computer designed to instantly diagnose, monitor and care for ICU patients, which could help ICUs operate more effectively, efficiently and economically, a spokesperson for Lockheed Martin said.
"We believe that technology like this can help make a huge dent in the spiraling costs of the nation’s health-care system," said Richard J. Boyd, an engineer at Lockheed. "We think this kind of technology can be part of the solution of the health-care crisis."
At the conference, the Army’s high-tech training agency staged a training exercise where medics responded to a simulated bomb attack. The medics treated computerized mannequins that generate life-like symptoms such as human breathing, heartbeats, pulse rates and bloody trauma wounds. The training had helped save more than 1,000 lives by improving the medical response on and near the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan an Army spokesperson said.
Medical simulation companies have been coordinating with a number of biomedical and healthcare facilities in Orlando, including the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute’s East Coast lab and the University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine.