I'm a newbie to medical and healthcare informatics. I need to access some raw telemedicine dataset including vital signs for a single person over a specific period of time. Basically my questions are:

  • How many possible vital signs can be measured, say in an emergency ambulance transfer? E.g. Heart Rate, SpO2, Co2, RR, etc.

  • What are the possible size and bitrate requirement for each? For this, if we have the dataset, we can calculate the size/time_period to get the bitrate.

Any advise on how to get these information?

1 Answer 1


In a typical ambulance operating at the paramedic level in the US, the following vital signs might be recorded:

  • Heart rate
  • Respiratory rate
  • BP
  • SpO2
  • GCS
  • EtCO2
  • Pupil size

The last two would be uncommon and only found with certain patients. It's likely there would be more than one set of vitals if the transport time is longer than a few minutes.

As for size, that's for a programmer who knows how the data is being transmitted and stored to figure out. It's not really a medical question, but using the maximum possible ranges of the numbers the minimum bit sizes I come up with are:

  • HR: 9
  • BP: 16
  • RR: 6
  • SpO2: 7
  • GCS: 4
  • EtCO2: 7
  • Pupils: 4

Total: 53

Recognize that those are the minimum sizes you could pack the data into. It's not likely stored in those minimal sizes but rather larger, traditional data types supported by modern databases and programming languages.

There is no way to calculate a bitrate requirement without knowing how much data has to be transmitted within what period of time. In any case, that's definitely not a medical question.

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