How mobile computing is transforming the emergency ambulance service
Imagine the scene. As the emergency response helicopter descends to the ground in a rush of wind, concerned bystanders step back to clear a path for the first responders to the man laying prone on the ground nearby. From the moment they arrive, the emergency team rely on their mobile computing equipment. First to monitor vital life signs. Then to access important decision support applications that aid the team to quickly and efficiently drill down through the possible causes to help identify the health issue. They can pull up existing records to see the patient’s history and use the technology to advise on the correct medication dose for the patient, depending on if it’s an adult or a child. And finally, to record critical patient information that will equip the hospital with vital information in advance of the patient arriving.
For the ambulance service and care workers innovations in computing technology have been a huge advantage in providing safer, more effective and efficient care. The ability to monitor, treat and record has delivered incredible benefits for the patient, as well as transformational improvements in efficiency for the care providers.
At Ortivus, we have packaged this monitoring hardware, decision support and electronic patient record tools with a single rugged Panasonic TOUGHBOOK tablet that can be used on the frontline. The monitoring equipment, for ECG, blood pressure and oxygen levels, is wirelessly connected to the tablet. Data is immediately transferred to the electronic patient record, alongside the decision support application, which can all be viewed on the tablet. All this equipment is packed in a small bag with a total weight of just 2.5kg. Truly mobile! It’s helping emergency response organisations across Europe respond to the challenge of how to provide the fastest and most effective care for patients, whilst battling the economic challenge of delivering more for the same or less money.
The instant practical advantages of this type of technology are, of course, obvious. If a team can quickly assess, treat and report from the scene, then the patient’s chances of recovery significantly improve. If the patient data and records can be captured and transferred to the hospital in advance of the patient arriving, then valuable time and resources are saved in caring for each patient.
In addition, there are economic, as well as health benefits. Many more patients can now quite regularly be treated at the scene, with the possibility of two-way communication between paramedics and hospital specialists at the scene of the incident, reducing the need to transport patients to hospital at all.
As organisations work with our solutions, they are also discovering other long-term benefits. Using the valuable data collected to predict need. For example, building heat maps to predict where and when traffic accidents are most likely to occur and positioning ambulance crews close to these locations. If evidence shows traffic accidents are most likely on a Friday afternoon, at busy junctions, as people rush to get home, then crews can be positioned nearby. Those same ambulances can then move closer to the centre of cities and towns at the weekend, when the roads are quieter and the ambulance service is needed for other types of call out. The same approach can be used to predict additional support that might be required in Covid-19 hotspots.
Outside of emergency call outs, our technology is also being deployed in homecare to monitor elderly patients, for example. Care workers use the solution to monitor vital signs and alerts can be automatically sent to specialists at distant locations when warning levels are reached. Video calls with the doctor and care worker, or patient, can be arranged. This allows a more rapid response and specialist consult as required.
In this environment, we have seen use of the MobiMed solution reduce transfers to hospitals by as much as 35%. This saves valuable resources and reduces the risk of additional infections for the patient by transporting them in these challenging times.
Of course, this recording and use of patient data in the field means security is an important consideration. As well as the encryption of data, all our devices can be tracked remotely, in case they are lost or stolen, and be remotely disabled and wiped clean of information if necessary.
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