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Four key technology trends impacting Ambulance Services

Written by Oliver Lobo, Ambulance Sector Lead at White Space Strategy

Four key technology trends impacting Ambulance Services

Healthcare providers and Ambulance Services across the world have been forced to adapt to the pandemic. They have had to find new ways to communicate with patients and collaborate with colleagues and do this while facing the biggest public health crisis in memory. But one thing this has done is accelerate the adoption of technology that helps Ambulance Services adapt to this changing world. So technology clearly has a role in the future of healthcare but what is that role and how are mobile devices being integrated to make the most of the new capabilities? Here we identify the four key trends that we from White Space Strategy have seen from extensive research that we have conducted in Ambulance and healthcare services across Europe.

 

Four Key Trends impacting Ambulance Services

 

Trend 1: The surge in remote healthcare solutions

For ambulance services, response speed is critical, so how can the instantaneous connections of remote devices be harnessed?

Remote healthcare solutions are being adopted in an increasing range of different situations, unlocking new capabilities for healthcare staff. As an example, the East Anglian Air Ambulance is now using mobile connected, point of care ultrasound devices to conduct scans in mid-air, and this information can be relayed to emergency teams. Elsewhere in Europe, paramedics have recently begun using FaceTime to communicate via tablets with doctors for stroke emergencies.

Remote working for frontline staff is becoming more common. There is real growth of software tools that enable remote working, and tablets are well suited to this purpose. Increasingly paramedics are completing documentation work at the point of incident, saving time rather than having to complete it later.

 

Trend 2: More integrated healthcare systems

What information would help provide better patient care or help services run more efficiently?

The future of European emergency response services is likely to include systems that involve more integration between the frontline ambulance workers and central hospital services. One quote from a research respondent said: “In an ideal world, a device could dictate where to send a patient. You could know immediately how many beds are available, and which specialists are located where.”

Another German organisation is piloting schemes where a doctor is available in a central office and can be contacted at any time in emergency situations by those on the frontline.

Mobile devices that can be integrated with central systems and used to communicate and transfer data quickly and securely will be important tools in an ever more effective Ambulance Service.

 

Trend 3: Disinfection has never been more crucial.

Is the constant cleaning of your device a challenge? Would more robust devices help?

Enhanced cleaning of equipment within healthcare settings has been fundamental to the response to the pandemic. One German research respondent described the extent of the problem when they reported: “Devices used in ambulances are cleaned by submerging them in disinfectant solutions. They must be able to withstand this.”

Rugged devices that are built to withstand the increasingly demanding disinfection requirements will become even more crucial to Ambulance services. For example TOUGHBOOK tablets are tested/certified to be used with the most common disinfectants.

 

Trend 4: Data security is increasingly important.

As more and more patient data is captured, data security is more important than ever.

One healthcare provider explained: “Suppliers must be able to support us in protecting and securing patient data – with greater transfers of patient data comes greater risks.”

Android devices are well suited to emergency medical services for a variety of reasons:

  • They are well suited to bespoke solutions.
  • Easy to operate.
  • There have been huge improvements recently in the data security capabilities of this operating system.
  • There are a wide range of devices available.

One French hospital respondent summed it up when they said: “Android offers the most choice in the market, and the devices meet all our needs.”

Working with mobile computing providers that can provide the right operating system device for your needs and reliable, fit for purpose devices with long-term support will be critical moving forward.

So, we can see that with these four trends alone technology has a huge role to play in supporting healthcare professionals and there are some really interesting examples of how devices are being adopted by ambulance services across Europe. The question is, how could you use mobile devices more to support your organisation?

Header image source: Chitraporn Nakorn/shutterstock.com

 

Find out more about TOUGHBOOK emergency services solutions.

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