Disruptive new technology allows the emergency services to see patients via a smartphone camera before paramedics arrive at the scene.
Developed by UK software company GoodSAM, ‘Instant on Scene’ is already being used by two air ambulance services to improve how they deploy emergency resources.
The system, which works on any smartphone device and network, enables the 999 call handler to send a text message with a link that (with the caller’s permission) sends location details and starts a secure video stream. The 999 call continues as audio passes through the phone call and the video simultaneously. No video is stored on the caller’s phone and, as there is nothing to download in order to open the stream, access occurs instantly.
Thanks to the video stream, the emergency services can assess how ill a patient is before arriving on scene, providing a better understanding of the level of care or resources that may be required.
An additional feature which is currently being tested can measure a patient’s pulse — just from the video stream. The system can read multiple patients’ pulses simultaneously, with potential use for multiple casualty situations, GoodSAM said.
Professor Richard Lyon, associate medical director of Kent Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, commented: “Being able to see the scene of the incident, not only the patients, but how many cars are involved for example, is game-changing in helping us decide what additional resources we might need to send, assessing who we might need to treat first or what medication we might need to give.”
Besides air ambulances, police services could use Instant on Scene in response to minor and major incidents.
And humanitarian charity First Aid Africa plans to use it to provide remote advice in areas of rural Africa where there is no ambulance service.