Imagine a hospital emergency room that has access to real-time data — from the location of an accident to patient status and any treatments administered by ambulance workers — before patients even arrive on site. Wouldn't those emergency room workers be incredibly efficient responders, well-equipped to meet the needs of the people they serve?
In Sweden, this picture of a streamlined, effective emergency response system is becoming reality thanks to Paratus, a modular healthcare solution that includes a mobile system built on Handheld's Algiz 10X rugged tablet. Swedish emergency responders are using this solution to send critical status updates to hospital workers as they happen, increasing emergency healthcare efficiency and improving patient outcomes.
A country's call for world-class healthcare
Sweden's healthcare affairs are governed at the regional level by elected political assemblies called county councils. Since January 2015, a majority of the nation's counties have implemented Paratus, designed by Swedish security and defence company Saab. Paratus is a module-based information management system for emergency responders, including ambulance, fire rescue and police. Its mobile software, Paratus Mobile System, assists Swedish ambulance workers as they navigate to accident sites, classify and monitor patient conditions and treatment, and report information back to emergency dispatchers and hospital staff in the form of status updates.
Handheld Algiz 10X units running Paratus Mobile System have been installed in Swedish ambulances and can be operated while vehicles are in transit, or undocked for handheld use directly at a treatment site or outside the vehicle. "The Paratus solution assists and simplifies work for ambulance staff by providing a single system that can coordinate and manage all the equipment and information necessary for an assignment," says Antoine Haddad, Paratus product owner at Saab.
Reporting for duty
Paratus Mobile System communicates directly with Paratus modules on hospital computers. When an ambulance enters service, a dispatcher can use a desktop module to send workers new assignments over TETRA, the European communications infrastructure used by public safety groups.
When ambulance staff receive an assignment, they acknowledge and accept it within Paratus; then the Algiz 10X automatically displays navigation information powered by its built-in u-blox GPS receiver and Paratus mapping software. Emergency medical dispatchers are able to monitor the location of the ambulance as it moves toward the accident site. When a response vehicle reaches its destination, workers use the tablet to confirm arrival.
Algiz_2_brighter"The solution integrates everything responders need to receive assignments, report status updates and navigate to response sites," Haddad says. In addition to progress and location-based status updates, ambulance workers use Paratus Mobile System to quickly and easily record patient treatment data and initiate transfer to a hospital. Simply touching a button on the Algiz 10X communicates relevant details to the correct emergency departments.
These status reports may include successful retrieval of a patient, selection of a hospital destination and details of the patient's transfer to another care unit. Paratus records and collects all treatment details into a secure, confidential data log that can be submitted to the patient's doctors for review. "The ambulance data reports are deemed so valuable that they are used by doctors throughout the entire treatment process," says Jerker Hellström, CEO of Handheld Group.
"The improved and extended patient care history is filed and used for overall analyses, evaluations and decision support." Once a patient has been successfully treated and, in most cases, transferred to a hospital, ambulance workers confirm task completion and Paratus displays the vehicle status as ready for a new assignment.
Speed and reliability when every minute counts
For emergency fieldworkers, the success of a complete information management system depends on the technology running that system. Real-time data can't wait for slow, clunky or fragile computers, or shaky wireless connectivity. And without fast processing speed, reliability in harsh environments, an easy-to-use interface and robust connectivity capabilities, even a leading-edge system such as Paratus may be no more helpful than less advanced solutions.
But the innovative Paratus Mobile System has a suitable complement in the Algiz 10X. This rugged mobile tablet features a quad-core processor and generous expandable storage space and memory. It's built for harsh handling and use in outdoor environments, so it can be undocked at a moment's notice and taken into any outdoor condition, from bright direct sunlight to freezing rain.
Its screen adjusts backlighting automatically to easily view maps and data entry screens, and its resistive touchscreen is operable even with wet hands or while wearing gloves. An IP65 rating and adherence to stringent MIL-STD-810G U.S. military standards allows unhindered performance when the unit is exposed to water, dust, drops, strong vibrations and extreme temperatures — so emergency responders can focus on protecting their patients, not their technology.
The tablet has several powerful wireless communication and connectivity options that are enhanced by its ability to be docked directly to emergency vehicles equipped with external antennas. And it runs the Windows IT infrastructure most hospitals use, allowing all connected devices to relay information seamlessly back and forth as responders work. Algiz_3_Brighter"By using the Windows operating system, the Algiz 10X takes the ambulance staff's office solution into the field," Haddad says. "They can carry the tablet and all their information and data collection systems directly to the accident and perform their work on site."
Ready to respond
An emergency response system's value lies in its trustworthiness. A system should hum along quietly and reliably in the background, letting the full strength of the spotlight shine on high-quality care and exemplary results. Thousands of patients and their medical workers have benefited since Sweden began implementing Saab's solution in their hospitals and emergency departments. "Paratus minimizes the time required to record patient information and allows for quicker patient transfer, so emergency technicians can devote more of their time to caring for patients," Haddad explains.
The name Paratus comes from a Latin word that means "prepared" — and this solution lives up to that name. Paratus Mobile System, combined with the Algiz 10X tablet, anticipates emergency responders' needs and consolidates the tools they use, preparing them to do their work well.