The healthcare industry has certainly been under the spotlight over the last couple of years, with COVID-19 accelerating the speed of technology adoption.
Emergency care has also come under increasing pressure, with ambulance services representing the key service needed across all healthcare sectors.
Identifying the real challenges
Emergency care and ambulance services have faced particular challenges during the pandemic. When arriving at the location of an accident or a patient in need of emergency care, responders have had to identify in real-time whether ICU beds – and the required equipment – are available.
The emergency service dispatcher needs to pinpoint the nearest hospital with an available ICU bed, ensuring patients get rapid life-saving treatment while the patient’s transfer is in progress. This of course can be a life or death situation, where seconds can make all the difference – the travel time required to transport patients from one hospital to another can have catastrophic results if required care is delayed.
This is where advanced ICT comes in.
Case study: How it works
A few kilometers away from the northeastern tip of North Africa, we can find an exemplary model of how ICT-powered emergency care solutions can be put into the hands of healthcare service providers and demonstrate the key role they play in addressing the real challenges that impact people lives.
A pilot project has been successfully implemented using wireless IOT sensors deployed in ICU sites in hospitals to track the availability of ICU beds. Integrated with a Healthcare Information System (HIS) platform and updated in real-time, the solution also features an ambulance tracking system.
When an ambulance arrives at the location of an accident, a suitable hospital Emergency Room ER with available ICU beds can be instantly identified. The ETA at the hospital is also calculated, while patient data and history records can be acquired in advance.
The Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and dispatcher can receive data on the availability of beds in real time, given that all hospitals provisioned in the solution are connected.
During patient transfer to the hospital, the solution helps hospital staff remotely monitor basic vital signs such as temperature and heartbeat, so that appropriate care is given throughout the journey to prevent further injury and keep the patient stable. Remote on-line video consultations between the ambulance and hospital are enabled through a dedicated wireless network and Smart Interactive Screens located at the hospital.
Then, the patient can be transferred to the emergency care unit of a hospital or clinic in the care of physician
Upon entering an emergency room and pre-admission, patients immediately receive IoT-enabled ID wristbands connected to all-in-one Wi-Fi network that tracks them through each step of their treatment. This helps analyze how long the patient spends at each stage of the process, which can in turn identify areas in need of improvement and enable patient records to be updated in the integrated HIS.
Digital technology is transforming the healthcare landscape
Adapting advanced ICT into healthcare digital transformation initiatives have become game-changers and the top priority for nations eager to boost economic growth and improve people’s lives and their well-being.
The pilot project has proven to be one step in the right direction. Emergency care has the potential to become a major driver towards achieving health-related Sustainable Development Goals targets.
There is no doubt that the global healthcare market is enormous and investment in healthcare is growing. Huge opportunities exist for digital technology and innovation to transform standard practice into a comprehensive digital modern healthcare landscape, driving economic growth as well as improving life and overall well-being.
That will require more comprehensive and accelerated collaboration among industry players, leading technology providers, private sectors and public institutions. Digital Transformation has plenty to offer those who are open to create the innovative social and business collaboration environment that spans technologies, cultures, and borders.
Read more about Huawei’s connected healthcare solutions.