Tens of thousands of iPads will be issued to ambulance crews across England so that patients get the right care faster, NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens announced today.
The 30,000 devices will allow ambulance crews to send photographs from the scene of an accident so stroke specialists and other clinicians on standby in emergency departments can get straight to work when the patient arrives at hospital.
Paramedics will also be able to access vital health records helping them assess patients’ injuries and decide whether they should be taken to hospital or treated at the scene.
Patient information can also be sent ahead to speed up handovers and free the ambulance up to attend another call.
NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens will announce the initiative at the Ambulance Leadership Forum today.
Sir Simon said:
The NHS Long Term Plan committed to providing staff working in the community with mobile devices and digital services.
The initiative is funded by NHSX, who are leading the transformation of health and social care through digital technology.
While the ratio of iPads to staff will vary based on need, in some areas including London, every ambulance worker will have access to one.
Matthew Gould, Chief Executive of NHSX, said:
The use of iPads has been piloted by ambulance crews in London and the South East, with early results showing how effective having access to vital information or specialist medical advice can be to emergency call outs.
South East Coast Ambulance has been using the tablets to video call consultants when attending stroke patients, to provide faster and more specialised care until they reach hospital.
Paramedics treating those suspected of suffering a stroke can dial in senior doctors, who via video, can assess a patient’s condition and advise on the best course of action.
Dr Fionna Moore, Medical Director at South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said:
At London Ambulance Service (LAS), paramedics use digitised patient records to benefit their clinical decision-making, helping to ensure patients receive the most effective treatment tailored to their medical history.
Stuart Crichton, a paramedic and the Chief Clinical Information Officer at LAS, said:
Minister for Health Edward Argar added:
Following the success seen in London and the South East, NHSX is supporting the nationwide rollout of devices through eight English ambulance trusts.
Crews in the East Midlands will use the tablets to send photographs from the scene of road traffic accidents to the receiving hospital to help clinicians prepare to treat patients.
The photographs can help emergency departments organise themselves based on the severity of the incident and how many patients they should be expecting and can be linked to the patient’s record.
Paramedics are also able to complete digital handovers on the way to hospital, making them available more quickly to attend their next call.
Source: NHS England