London's Air Ambulance has teamed up with mobile operator EE to develop new systems that will use 4G technology to cut vital minutes off mission times to benefit its patients.
London's Air Ambulance delivers an advanced trauma team to critically injured people in London. It undertakes 2,000 missions on average per year, and has world's highest survival rates from interventions such as open heart surgery.
The charity has already started using tablet PCs with navigation apps in its rapid response cars, which are used at night to deliver a senior trauma doctor and paramedic to the patient.
Previously a traditional A to Z map book was used to plot the route, with a sat nav as back up. Now the address can be directly inputted into the navigation app on the tablet, which generates a direct route without having to flip through pages on the hard copy map.
Sat navs and navigation apps using 3G networks have been previously trialled but when travelling on high speed through London, the ability of non-4G services to refresh mapping have failed.
EE claims that the 4G-enabled navigation app could potentially save up to 2 minutes on dispatch time.
"Our patients have started the dying process as soon as their injury has occurred," said Dr Gareth Davies, Medical Director and Chair of the Trustees of London's Air Ambulance.
"Many of them don't have a pulse, so the time you have to save a life is very short and saving seconds wherever we can all adds up and makes a difference to their outcome."
EE is now looking to develop an application that will allow data to be transmitted wirelessly to an iPad on board a helicopter. At the moment, data is gathered on paper and then run on foot to the helicopter. The new system could potentially shave off seconds or even minutes to take-off time.
The mobile operator is also developing apps for London's Air Ambulance to manage its data, checklists and paperwork. London's Air Ambulance's Standard Operating Procedures will be hosted online using a bespoke cloud application that is being developed by EE technicians.