Ambulance iPads to improve patient care
Tens of thousands of iPads will be issued to ambulance crews across England so that patients get the right care faster, NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens has announced.
The 30,000 devices will allow ambulance crews to send photographs from the scene of an incident so stroke specialists and other clinicians on standby in emergency departments can get straight to work when the patient arrives at hospital.
Paramedics will also be able to access vital health records helping them assess patients’ injuries and decide whether they should be taken to hospital or treated at the scene. Patient information can also be sent ahead to speed up handovers and free the ambulance up to attend another call.
While the ratio of iPads to staff will vary based on need, in some areas including London, every ambulance worker will have access to one.
Matthew Gould, Chief Executive of NHSX, said: “At NHSX we are working to help frontline staff use digital technology to transform the service they provide, and these tablets will give paramedics an extra edge.”
The use of iPads has been piloted by ambulance crews in London and the South East, with early results showing how effective having access to vital information or specialist medical advice can be to emergency call outs.
South East Coast Ambulance has been using the tablets to video call consultants when attending stroke patients, to provide faster and more specialised care until they reach hospital. Paramedics treating those suspected of suffering a stroke can dial in senior doctors, who via video, can assess a patient’s condition and advise on the best course of action.
Dr. Fionna Moore, medical director at South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The iPads are proving invaluable in assisting our clinicians in the rapid identification of stroke patients to expedite their treatment and help identify the most appropriate clinical pathway.
“This direct link to local experts by ‘bringing them into the back of an ambulance’ via Facetime, is something we are keen to explore further to see how it can be developed in other areas of care for the benefit of our patients.”