India has come a long way in integrating latest technologies for advancing emergency medical services. From using hand-carts fortransferringpatients to the hospital to having a GPS-enabled motor-vehicle equipped with trained paramedics and state-of-the-artequipment at your dispense with just a call,Emergency Medical Response Services(EMRS) have certainly advanced a lot. However, when compared to the scale of tech-integration achieved by its Western counterparts, India’s advancements seem miniscule, even asa sizeable rural population continues to remain devoid of easy access to the emergency medical services availed by the many urban dwellers.
Technology has played a crucial role in upping the ante of EMRS, be it in terms of efficiency or speed. Today, the growing concern regards inadequacies of communication and pit stops in operations and management can find solace in the blipping arms of fast evolving technological-integrations. Some of them, which are viable for mitigating existing shortcomings in Indian EMRS, are as follows.
- Electronic Health Records–Electronic Health Records have been adopted by various countries across the globe to ensure comprehensive, personalised medical treatment. In case of EMRS, this technology can help paramedics enter the patient’s medical readings/co-ordinates onto a shared health information technology portal en route the hospital. Through such a facility, the doctor can analyse the patient’s medical condition as well as his/her medical history and preparefor a suitable treatment methodology before the patient reaches the hospital. This will ensure that minimal time is wasted and more time can be assigned to the treatment of the patient during his/her Golden Hour.
- Video-phone/computer in an ambulance–By installing a video-phone, streaming device or computer with good internet connectivity, the doctor can direct the paramedic to perform certain complex medical procedures. Especially in the event ofthe patient being terminally ill, such devices can help make the most of the time at hand. Sometimes, this technology can also help the doctor analyse the patient’s condition better and consequently direct the EMRS team about whether the patient needs to be transported to a community health centre or a specialty hospital.
- Streamline operations – While 9-1-1 is a single number for all emergency calls in the United States, such a service has still not been made available to the Indian citizens due to difficulties in proper streamlining of operations. With introduction of better technology however, a similar single-number-service in India is not a long shot. With technology-integration, it possible to register a case, deploy the ambulance and such, as well as streamline operations with automated categorization and re-direction of calls to medical service providers, fire brigades or police departments.
- Automatic crash notification (ACN) technology– The automatic crash notification technology is designed to enable a faster response, as it immediately reports any road crash to the EMRS. The technology also notifies the GPS location of the crash so that the EMRS need not wait for intimation and can come to the rescue of the patient at the earliest. This has helped significantly reduce the mortality rate in countries which have effectively adopted the ACN.
Technology has transformed multiple segments across markets of the world, including the medical stream. Given that EMRS has not been able to penetrate rural communities, technology-integrations such as video-streaming and information sharing can help the masses get trained in first response as well as benefit from quick emergency medical services. With digital fingertip pulse oxymeters, digital blood pressure monitors, among others, precautionary as well as personalised medicine can be brought closer to the villages of the country, empowering them both technologically as well as medically.