Carnegie Mellon University

Integrated Innovation Institute

Engineering + Design + Business

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Medical Emergency Prevention System (MEPS)

How can airlines help passengers prevent medical emergencies?

Long-distance travel, defined as travel ranging from six hours to more than 12 hours straight, can present challenges for passengers with pre-existing health conditions. Often times, individuals who take recurring medications find it difficult to remember to take the right dosage at the needed time, due to the prolonged period of flight and changing of time zones. For diabetics, particularly, missing an insulin injection can cause a range of medical emergencies.

Another health concern that certain passengers may have is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), the formation of a blood clot within a deep vein, which typically occurs in the legs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that there are between 300,000 and 600,000 cases of DVT in the U.S. each year. DVT is also twice as likely to afflict individuals with diabetes, a collection of diseases that is estimated to affect 29.1 million people in the United States (both diagnosed and undiagnosed) and 387 million worldwide.

The Solution

By developing new or redesigning current in-flight products and services, airlines can greatly increase their passengers’ ability to prevent medical complications. The rollout of this proposed medical emergency prevention system includes three items -- an EMS collar, compression socks and medication reminders – that will ensure improved circulation in the legs and overall prescription medication compliance.

Compression sock design


Mockup of in-flight notifications & reminders