Rugged Tablets Help Czech-Based EMS Save Lives

The adoption of technology in healthcare has been growing at a rapid pace, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are not exempt from this truth. Mobile computers in ambulances, and other emergency response vehicles, can be a critical part of improving outcomes in potentially life-threatening situations. While some EMS providers have embraced mobile computing technology, others still need to make that transition.

The South Moravia Regional Emergency Medical Services (SMREMS)—an EMS service in the Czech Republic providing urgent pre-admission care to individuals with medical emergencies—recently made the switch to a mobile computing solution, utilizing Panasonic tablets. With EMS services consisting of over 500 employees, 93 vehicles and 23 ambulance stations, covering more than 2700 square miles (7000 square kilometers) and providing services to more than 1 million people in the region, there was an immediate need for a mobile solution.

As recent as mid-2013, the only way patient health data was made available to the SMREMS technicians was through voice communications with their operators. Plus, crews had to complete detailed paperwork that often resulted in inaccuracies and the need for additional reviews.

In the world of modern healthcare, this was not an acceptable or efficient solution. As the SMREMS began looking for a mobile computing solution to address its needs, it had to find one that would work in its demanding environment. With heavy shock, vibration, drops, extreme temperatures and exposure to bodily fluids and the elements common for the EMS work reality, a commercial-off-the-shelf device would not deliver the reliability needed.

Beyond considering its internal and operational requirements, the SMREMS reached out to other EMS providers to see what it could learn from their experiences. The Vysočina Region Emergency Medical Services turned out to be an excellent resource, having equipped its ambulances with rugged mobile computers in 2009. After careful research, and input from a sister agency, the SMREMS adopted Panasonic’s Toughpad FZ-G1 tablet, a digital solution that enhances business processes, while utilizing a suite of specialized capabilities to help streamline the process of providing improved patient care.

The Toughpad tablet, with software from Medsol s.r.o. and Newton Technologies, solved problems by giving EMS teams immediate access to data. For example, its central systems provides up-to-date information during the pick-up and transportation phase for patients, and helps streamline the process of preparation for admitting them.

“During the tender we strictly insisted on all our requirements being satisfied. The decision to opt for the rugged Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 tablets with Windows 8.1 was made after careful evaluation, and our experience so far shows that we have made the right choice,” says Jindřich Vintr, head of the ITC department of the South Moravia Medical Emergency Services p.o. “The tablets allow ambulance crews to be mobile and react rapidly in the field.”

Thanks to purpose-built mobile computing technology, paired with the right software, communication between the EMS staff and hospitals have significantly improved. The new solution adopted by the SMREMS increases the quality of care delivered through improved access to patient health records and the ability to share critical information with medical facilities in advance of arrival. As a result, crews improve their chances of saving lives.

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