Ambulance-based Telemedicine Saving Lives in Real-Time
For disaster relief operations or emergency medical services (EMS), time is much more than a matter of money—it's a matter of life and death. An ambulance-to-hospital based telemedicine system is the best example of how mobile technology can help save lives, by providing real time patient information to the hospital via wireless communications, enabling remote diagnoses and primary care, and reducing rescue response time. Telemedicine, as defined by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications, to improve a patient's clinical health status.
Telemedicine includes a growing variety of applications and services—from remote health monitoring to medical education. Among these applications, ambulance-based telemedicine uses the most up-to-date vehicle electronics and mobile communications technology, aimed at providing a significant time advantage, expediting critical treatment and improving patient outcomes.ability to care, the patient can be referred earlier to other hospitals or medical care centers to save time. On the hospital side, emergency room physicians and nurses can receive and review the incoming data at a desktop PC or on a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone, and make preliminary assessments before the arrival of the patient. The ER docs can also zoom-in to see the wounds, discuss the situation with the emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and instruct the EMTs to administer primary care or emergency medical services, such as giving injections or fracture treatment.
The emergency and trauma physicians can also triage cases remotely, and start to prepare a surgery team if needed, prior to the patient's arrival. If they decide the available medical resources of the hospital are insufficient for the situation, they can refer the case to an alternative medical care center, to save time. Ambulance telemedicine is aimed at sparing every minute that can possibly be used to save lives. Such pre-hospital systems are also vital for patients suffering from a stroke or cardiac diseases. Earlier assessment and treatment of strokes during critical moments can save lives and minimize aftereffects. Ambulance-based telemedicine is particularly valuable for residents living in remote areas, a long distance from hospitals and clinics, as well as for casualties in remote locations.