THE ROLE OF THE INTERNET OF THINGS
By leveraging the Internet of Things, we can have
seamless connections to multiple community medical
providers or practitioners, who can advise, prescribe,
monitor, and only direct emergency patients to an
emergency department if absolutely necessary.
If we look at what is already happening in consumer-level
communications, we could ask Siri (or another ‘smart
assistant’) to open a patient’s medical record. The
paramedic is talking and Siri records all the information,
populating the medical records and perhaps videoing
what’s happening in the back of the ambulance. Now,
instead of setting up connections, all the paramedic
needs to do is talk, and provide care for the patient. The
smart assistant is automatically recording the patient
information and populating the patient medical records,
managing the comms, videoing the situation – perhaps
even offering recommendations.
The paramedic might then say “Contact the cardiologists
at Southern Hospital,” or “Inbound seven and a half
minutes,” or “traffic heavy”. Some or all of those
communications can be automatically sent as part of the
With LTE and the Internet of Things, officer training can
occur dynamically, using virtual reality, augmented reality,
and artificial intelligence. This will greatly extend the
possibilities beyond the video and messaging currently
used, over the ambulance Mobile Data Terminal.
DRIVERLESS VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC CONTROL
FOR JOURNEY OPTIMISATION
Some US ambulance services are currently looking at
a future of driverless vehicles. Initially, it will be hard
to establish trust, but eventually all traffic flows will
be managed by a computer system. If you have, say
“UNIFIED CRITICAL COMMUNICATIONS
WILL BE A GAME CHANGER FOR OUR
ORGANIZATION AND OTHERS LIKE IT.”
400 drivers, you might now only need 100 to keep the
automatic driverless system on the road. That will make
better use of a shrinking resource, as the others can be
upskilled and redeployed as mobile paramedics, who are
now solely responsible for clinician tasks. The automated
communications platform is essential for this approach.
Another traffic control solution is the green light
card which provides a green light current through all
intersections. Bus systems are doing that right now
by delaying or advancing traffic light phase changes
to speed up public transport; in Finland, for example,
the bus authority is connected into the traffic authority
as part of a Smart City initiative. Emergency service
organizations can integrate with CAD dispatch systems
to forecast emergency calls and provide ambulance
pathways along a green light corridor.
Currently still a work in progress, it also provides
advantages from a worker health and safety perspective,
by reducing driver stress and the risk of accidents.
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
Unified Critical Communications will be a game changer
for our organization and others like it. As Program
Director for Health Infrastructure, I am an advocate of
bringing the network with you. That means a WiFi bubble
inside the vehicle, external links to the paramedic outside
the vehicle, and also gives us a significantly smaller
device footprint within the vehicle.
4G/5G, IoT and Big Data are already making these things
possible, and NSW Ambulance is ready to invest. What we
need is an experienced communications partner who we
can feed raw data about what we want to achieve. They
will develop the comms solutions that provide it.
Geoff Waterhouse presents at BAPCO 2019:
12th of March, at the Showcase Theatre