The pandemic has reinforced the indispensable role that healthcare organisations like the National Health Service (NHS) play in our daily lives. In this special report Paul Waddilove, Managing Director, UK & Nordics at Getac looks at how it’s also highlighted the critical importance of effective digital transformation when it comes to delivering fast, efficient medical services during times of immense pressure.
The events of the past two years have made nearly everyone more dependent on technology than ever before, just in different ways. For remote office workers around the world, technology has come to represent flexibility. For paramedics and other emergency medical professionals, it can mean the difference between life and death, particularly when dealing with significantly elevated workloads.
The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) is a great illustration of this. A huge rise in demand for its services made meeting the unique challenges of a pandemic whilst still providing core medical services to the people of Scotland incredibly difficult. Fortunately, an effective digital transformation strategy has enabled the SAS to fulfil all its duties through intelligent deployment of connected technology in the field. Switching to digital devices for everything from locating emergency scenes, to recording/monitoring patient data, has drastically cut down on time-consuming manual paperwork and trips to base for its paramedic teams. As a result, they’ve been able to spend far more time doing what they do best, treating patients.
Successful digital transformation requires careful planning
While examples like the SAS make the benefits of digital transformation clear to see, it’s crucial that healthcare organisations take the time to effectively analyse the scope of the task at hand and plan an approach based on their own unique needs. Below are three key considerations:
Reliability in the field
Paramedics often operate under immense pressure and in all weather conditions, which makes reliability paramount. As such, the devices they use must be able to withstand hard impacts and drops, as well as being covered in water, dirt and dust. Rugged laptops and tablets are purpose built for this, making them ideally suited to the task.
Remote servicing and support capabilities
The exponential rise of remote and hybrid working means that IT experts are not as available on-site as they typically were in the past. This means applications that enable remote collaboration and support have become extremely important. So too have cloud-based services that allow organisations to preconfigure, reset and recover computing devices without ever needing to touch the devices themselves.
For front-line medical workers, sometimes success comes down to something as simple as getting fast access to Electronic Patient Records, regardless of the incident location or environment. Devices with inbuilt 4G and 5G connectivity make this possible, which is why they have become invaluable to organisations like The Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS). As a small team covering almost 6,000 miles of highly varied terrain across the North of England, they rely on rugged devices with inbuilt 4G connectivity to collect and share critical information from remote locations, enabling them to deliver appropriate care to patients much faster than would otherwise be possible.
Many of the lessons learned about the importance of digital transformation over the last few years have been incredibly valuable for emergency healthcare organisations. Now more than ever, ambulance crews and medical professionals need digital solutions that can be relied on in all situations to provide the information they need, when they need it. Successful digital transformation can deliver this and so much more, helping to optimise patient care for many years to come.
For more information, go to www.getac.com/en/industries/public-safety/