Lufthansa is using the trial phase of its new in-flight Internet service, Lufthansa FlyNet, which runs until mid-April, to test telemedicine applications on board.
The German flag carrier is the first airline in the world to offer high-speed broadband Internet connectivity with sufficient capacity to transmit data. A patient`s vital parameters, such as blood oxygen levels and ECG, can thus be transmitted from an aircraft to a ground station, where doctors can then make an exact diagnosis and give the crew or medical professional on board specific instructions for treating the patient. In critical cases, contact with the ground station will enable the pilot to decide whether to divert to another airport.
Lufthansa`s is conducting the tests in cooperation with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). Doctors at DLR will check the suitability of different prototypes of medical equipment under real conditions on a number of flights between Frankfurt and Washington. “This project fits in perfectly with our longstanding commitment to aviation medicine research,” says Prof. Dr. Uwe Stüben, who heads Lufthansa`s Medical Service.
In addition to an in-flight medicine chest, First Aid kit and a well-equipped Doctor`s Kit, Lufthansa carries defibrillators on all its longrange aircraft. These are used to help crew members to resuscitate passengers in the event of sudden cardiac arrest during a flight. Lufthansa has also recently begun working in partnership with International SOS, a specialist service provider that offers round-the-clock, emergency medical support.