The Unwired Medic

Teaching EMS providers & other public safety pros about using mobile tech to improve their practice, patient care, continuing education, scene safety, general entertainment, & productivity.

True Interoperability – SciFi or Reality?


Once in a while, you come across an article that is so well written and the author shows you the possibilities that you know just scratch the surface that you have to share it with everyone right away.  This is one of those articles…

Public Safety Gets the D Block: What it Means for EMS:

The author is articulate and passionate without trying to sway the reader to one version of implementation or the other.  I applaud the author.  Now, being kind of a tech geek, my adrenaline started infusing and my brain started running many different tangents (in an ADHD sort of way) on what possibilities can be realized by this momentous decision.Star Trek Tricorder on Wikipedia

There are going to be 15 members on this board of directors.  I wish I had a snowball’s chance in Hades of being on it!

One big pro to this allocation mean that rural providers are not going to be treated like the bastard children of public safety, if of course, the politicians do what they are supposed to with this opportunity.  I live in a very rural state, with one of our 17 counties having just 1,500 people.  Sparsely populated areas, such as this, simply cannot afford to jump on the bandwagon when a new toy or service comes out.  They need help in getting their hands on reliable, hardy equipment and services.  I truly hope they get it!

Another pro is that technology can become more integrated into the practice and professions of public safety.

  • Imagine your unresponsive patients having RFID medical bracelets that give a registration number that you can then use to retrieve a medical history before you even get the patient in the ambulance.
  • Imagine pulling up to a scene and recording the incident for the trauma team to see the mechanisms of action and the damages, and having your computer, phone, or tablet cloud-analyze odors in the air or detect radiation with your built-in camera.
  • Imagine that camera built-into a headset taking video of the car you are approaching and overlaying a readout on your glasses or a monacle (like military attack helicopters use) of where the airbags, batteries, and other hazards of the vehicle are as it automatically pulls the latest info on that vehicle from an app like the Quick Reference Guide, then scanning hazmat placards and identifying the agents with one of these chemical response guides (ERG, NIOSH), and then showing you the prescribed treatment for exposure to it with this Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management Site.  That info then gets passed along to all incoming units so they are briefed before they arrive. Far fetched?  The military already has this on their future soldier programs and it is in beta test and development.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes.  A civilian model isn’t far behind and lesser spec’ed units are already hitting the civilian market, and I’m not just talking about the new and mysterious Google: Project Glass.
  • Imagine having all your point-of-care devices transmit to the ER while you are gathering measurements (CO, ETCO2, SpO2, FSBS/BGL, H&H, Lytes, Lactate, Troponin, ECG monitoring and 12-leads, NIBP, Temp, etc.) so you don’t have to stop at the ER before going straight to CT, cath lab, or other pre-op, and how easy it will be not having to print paper strips to attach to the ePCR or leave with the patient upon transfer.
  • Imagine a telemedicine consult with a higher level of care facility that can help determine if the patient needs to go to the ER or be transferred into the next higher-level trauma center.
  • Imagine all the prep work being sent to the incoming medevac to review before they arrive on scene.
  • Imagine a built-in GPS triggering activation of building plans, evac routes, or showing you nearby potential LZ’s, or helping you find the right way to the hospital on that transfer to an area you’ve never seen before.
  • Imagine vehicle readouts from all those NHTSA-mandated sensors being sent to your maintenance crews so they can head off problems with your rig before you get stranded on the side of the road.
  • Imagine not having to get a separate radio to talk on or not worrying about your call info because of not being able to interface with a different CAD every time you mutual aid into a different jurisdiction (hello, strike teams!).
  • Imagine scanning a drivers license or other ID or having a facial recognition feature and knowing who you are dealing with, or that you’ve just passively found the missing link to preventing a terrorist attack, or located a missing child.
  • Imagine actually receiving the order to bug out of an unsafe building or incident.  We all know what happened to the responders of the WTC towers.

That author was spot on when he said it WILL have a tremendous impact on public safety. Now, I need to get away from the computer now so I can derail this train of thought or I won’t get any dinner or sleep tonight!  Be safe!

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