The project will equip a standard ambulance with devices and 5G connectivity, transforming the vehicle into a remote consultation room.
Taking place at Millbrook Proving Ground vehicle testing centre in Bedford, UK, the trial will simulate an emergency call-out, allowing paramedics to conduct checks, collect data and communicate with consultants remotely using on-board equipment.
The paramedics will then be able to diagnose patients and recommend the appropriate treatment and next actions. The team hopes the trial will demonstrate how connected ambulances can enable paramedics to treat more people with more ailments than currently possible and ease the strain on hospital resources by reducing the number of patients taken to hospital.
Partners working alongside 02 include Samsung for the devices, Visionable for the video collaboration software and Launchcloud for the asset tracking and compliance check elements.
Visionable and Launchcloud are part of Wayra, the start-up accelerator owned by O2’s parent company, Telefonica.
5G for healthcare
Derek McManus, COO at O2, said, “It’s no secret there is increasing pressure on our health services. Healthcare is one of the areas set to benefit most from 5G technology, with faster, more effective treatment, and significant efficiency savings.”
Research from 02 last year found that 5G video conferencing alone could free-up 1.1 million hours per year for the NHS, as well as saving cities £463 million per year and decreasing overall bed occupancy rates by 6% through the adoption of wearing monitoring devices.
O2 is already providing the devices and connectivity for a similar trial, led by Visionable, involving six ambulances at the East of England Ambulance Trust.
Every minute counts
Lynda Sibson, Stroke Telemedicine Manager East of England Stroke Telemedicine Stakeholder Partnership, commented, “When someone has a stroke, every minute counts. We have been successfully working with Visionable to bring critical stroke care to patients wherever they are, bringing life-saving treatment and diagnosis to thousands of people across the East of England.
"Extending this type of care into Smart Ambulances is an exciting next step in critical and pre-hospital emergency care. Being able to bring experts to patients regardless of their location will help save lives, while reducing some of the strain on clinicians and the NHS.”