needs to happen. When we actually hit the door lock,
the theater is already booked, medications are sorted,
and everything that patient needs is ready on arrival.
When delay is minimized, the cost is cut, and the patient
outcomes are more likely to be successful.
THE CONNECTED CLINICIAN
The Connected Clinician model that we are working
toward allows us to connect multiple activities more
securely. With everything operating across one mobility
platform, it introduces a whole suite of new applications
for paramedics. Eventually, instead of administering
these apps, paramedics will work hands free as much as
possible, so that they can focus directly on the core tasks
essential to the individual patient journey.
That will have significant impact on hospitals in the
future. Estimates suggest it will move around 30% (the
non-critical portion) of ambulance traffic from emergency
departments to community practitioners. When that
happens, hospitals can physically shrink and become
more specialized to deal with critical conditions such
as strokes and heart attacks. At a time when state
health budgets are under stress, pressure to build more
hospitals will be substantially reduced, and the cost
of a new hospital – typically around $750 million – is
predicted to drop to $400 million.
Here are some Connected Clinician options that New
South Wales Ambulance is currently pursuing.
• We are in the process of developing electronic patient
record systems that will eventually support – and be
supported by – paramedic input.
• We have resolved an internal security issue with the
medication safes at the ambulance stations. We can
now automatically track medications wirelessly, so
neither patient nor staff is responsible for recording
their use. This creates robust barriers to unauthorized
access, and manages medication supply.
• Wearable, hands free communication, and automated
monitoring of patient signs will mean that paramedics
can focus on patient treatment (not communications)
because vital information is transmitted to the right
• Increasingly, paramedics are experiencing threats and
assaults by drunk, abusive and violent members of the
public. Duress monitoring can be built into paramedics’
shirts, so that pre-programmed biometric levels open
the mic on a comms device, which then communicates
(and records) what’s happening, to alert dispatch and
While these and other examples will further the
Connected Clinician model, so far there is little evidence
of automation for triage, treatment recommendations, or
route planning. Certainly, if you are making a high speed
dash, some of this is covered by existing procedures;
dispatchers can identify the closest vehicle to the job.
Even at that level, vehicle capability is immediately
elevated by enabling fastest route to incident. Anything
that can lessen the load of the paramedics means they
can just attend to their patient, which is positive for
But so much more can be done. Eventually, what we now
call artificial intelligence will be a regular feature of all
WHAT IS UNIFIED CRITICAL COMMUNICATIONS?
Experienced network operators are well aware of the associated costs and risks inherent in wholesale
replacement of their communications network. Fortunately, UCC provides an effective alternative, as Ross
Spearman, Chief Technical Officer at Tait Communications explains: “The future of comms … is really the
convergence of voice and data over multiple bearers… to make that happen in a seamless way for the end
user, so they don’t care what network they’re on: it just works”.
This is ‘Unified Critical Communications’ (UCC) – an approach that is both radical, and deceptively simple.
Unlike reliance on a single communications technology, Unified Critical Communications combines the
strengths of a diverse range of technologies, while mitigating their individual weaknesses. It will:
• Replace traditional single-technology solutions with multiple communications bearers,
• Open up the choice of a much wider range of equipment types and vendors,
• Integrate different networks so that they are managed as one,
• Deliver communications to users who are unaware that they are using multiple networks,
• Deliver critical communications as a service to frontline personnel.