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Air medics welcome live video streaming app

[T]he GoodSAM App has launched a ground-breaking new feature, ‘Instant on Scene’ which gives emergency services the ability to see patients by sending a simple text message to the caller’s phone.

There is nothing to download in order to access the caller’s smartphone camera. This means the emergency services can assess how ill a patient is before arriving on scene, via mobile video streaming, enabling a better understanding of the level of care or resources that may be required. The system also has incorporated technology that can measure a patient’s pulse – just from the video stream. This beta phase feature can measure multiple patients’ pulses simultaneously.

The App’s ‘Instant On Scene’ function is set to revolutionise how emergency services dispatch resources and triage patients and is currently being used by air ambulances, with ambulance services about to start. The 999 call handler initiates a text message with a link that (with the caller’s permission) opens the caller’s video camera and sends location details, and the video streaming begins. 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, importantly, as there is nothing to download in order to open the stream, access occurs instantly.

Professor Richard Lyon, Associate Medical Director of Kent Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, said: “Time is critical in saving a person’s life or reducing long-term disability, and often we have limited information from bystanders about a patient’s or multiple patients’ injuries to make decisions. Callers usually aren’t medically trained so information isn’t always accurate.

“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.”

The ability to remotely measure a patient’s pulse, the rate at which your heart beats, will also enhance confidence in decision making – whether that be increasing the urgency of the case or supporting a decision that it is lower priority. Current evaluation studies are demonstrating remarkable accuracy in this feature. The system can read multiple patients’ pulses simultaneously with potential use for multiple casualty situations.

GoodSAM’s Medical Director, Professor Mark Wilson, said: “Being able to see the patient and the scene without them having to download a video chat app, and getting a reading of their vital signs, dramatically improves remote assessment of illness. This can be through visualising the mechanisms of injury (e.g. number of vehicles involved) or how sick a patient appears. This information can radically improve resource management – prioritising patients who otherwise might not have been thought of as that urgent.

“The ‘Instant On Scene’ function of the GoodSAM platform can be used for any emergency response, not just ambulance services.  Police services could use it in response to both Minor and Major Incidents – providing a faster and more efficient response.  It is unbelievably simple to integrate into the Computer Aided Dispatch.”

The secure one-to-many video stream has patented frame rate optimisation to ensure video quality is always the best it could possibly be. It works on any smartphone device and network. The video stream appears with a map locating the caller in the GoodSAM dashboard and it can be shared with other emergency services staff – for example the police or fire services.

In the UK, both Kent Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance and Great North Air Ambulance are using ‘Instant On Scene’. GoodSAM is working in partnership with East Midlands Ambulance Service, who already use the App to alert responders to cardiac arrests, to explore how video streaming could be used to enable safer working between emergency services. Worldwide services plan to use the ‘Instant on Scene’ in various ways, for example First Aid Africa plan to use the function to provide remote advice in rural Africa, where there is no ambulance service.

GoodSAM’s Technical Director, Ali Ghorbangholi, said: “We are a leading technology company working closely with partners, continuously innovating and building solutions which are extremely affordable and scalable. Our solutions can be used by all of the services at a fraction of traditional costs. We would encourage any interested agencies to get in contact to discuss partnering up.”

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