Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Ambulances are following the trend we’ve noticed taking off in China with the introduction of stretcher mounted 3G Video Calling equipment. From the press release it’s not clear what benefits this “Transport AV” product would offer over a more pocketable solution with a head mounted camera system, nor are there any details on design of the backend systems being used by dispatchers.
I’m also not quite sure on the benefits of the additional portability in this case as the 4 ambulances that have been kitted out (at a cost of $30,000 each) appear to be used for pediatric ICU transportation from regional/rural hospitals into the world acclaimed children’s hospital. Surely there is an even bigger opportunity in more general ambulances rather than these specialist vehicles that are already well equiped and staffed by experienced critical care transport teams.
Dr. Hamilton Schwartz, a Pediatrician and Medical Director of Statline a division of the CCHMC Emergency Department, explains the value that the Transport AV video link is offering:
“In the past, we had to rely on verbal descriptions over the phone from the teams, and it can be very difficult to communicate the nuances of a physical situation or condition in words, for example, in pediatrics, it’s critical to see the patient’s skin colour. Different shades of grey coloration can mean not enough blood flow, or different shades of blue can denote the severity of oxygen deprivation. But describing shades of colours precisely is hard, leaving room for interpretation. It’s much easier and faster to diagnose when you can see for yourself. With mobile telemedicine we can now interact with the ambulance crews to customize critical care for each individual patient from the minute the patient is transferred into their care. We can immediately diagnose and begin critical care treatment, and we can monitor the patient’s condition and reactions to treatment throughout the transport”
I think it’s reasonable to expect this market to pick up considerably. In 2010 what hospital can refuse “more efficient critical care, less trauma for families and safer ambulance rides”?