The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust is the first ambulance service to pilot a new technology that provides robust connectivity for ambulance crews and vehicles – even in areas where traditional cellular connectivity is impossible – with an exciting and innovative trial that has now been underway for a month and is already receiving positive reviews from staff, while supporting the safe non-conveyance of patients to hospitals.
The Hybrid Connex technology bonds clever software, cutting-edge hardware and cellular and satellite services into one package that effectively creates unbreakable, permanent connectivity, combining seamless 4G, 5G and satellite connections that ensure ambulance crews get a fast, resilient connectivity solution and are never offline.
An always-on Wi-Fi bubble around the ambulance allows staff to connect to digital systems such as NHS Spine-connected services one hundred per cent of the time, giving them access to patient history and enabling them to identify alternative care pathways, make the right decisions for the patient and provide the opportunity for the best possible clinical outcomes.
“This is not a replacement for ESN but a tangential technology to further support clinical connectivity. The early stages of the pilot have already shown the benefit of a faster and more stable connection to digital systems even while the vehicle is on the move. In some cases that connection has been able to extend into patients’ homes, resulting in the ability for staff to make Wi-Fi calls in low and no cellular connectivity areas.”
“As we move forward with the integration of digital technology to ambulance front line care, we have access to more information about our patients than ever before, but we need to be connected all of the time to take advantage of it. Paramedics need to know they can always have the same information available no matter where they attend to their patients. With Hybrid Connex in place, we are already seeing how a guaranteed connection improves our patient care, as we can download information about the patient and access their clinical records whenever needed. We are already starting to use new functionality like video calling to a stroke consultant in a specialist centre, for example.”
Funded by a €5.7m grant from the European Space Agency (ESA), emergency services connectivity specialist Excelerate Technology is leading a consortium of partners to deliver Hybrid Connex, including NHS AGEM, Livewire, Satellite Applications Catapult and Vodafone.
“As the lead partner in the Hybrid Connex consortium, Excelerate is delighted to be working with NHS Arden & Gem and East of England Ambulance Service and we are looking forward to showing the benefits at ALF 2023. We are especially keen to hear from other ambulance services who would like to trial the technology.”