Ambulance crews are to use iPads to improve patient care in England, it has been announced.
Emergency staff will use the devices to send photographs from the scene of an accident so hospital workers can get straight to work when the patient arrives.
They will also be able to access the patient’s health records to assess injuries and decide whether they should be taken to hospital or treated at the scene.
About 30,000 devices will be issued to ambulance crews across the country, it is said.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “Ambulance crews have been at the forefront of the pandemic, routinely dealing with life-and-death situations and often first on scene to treat and diagnose critically ill patients.
“These devices are another tool for our highly skilled paramedics and ambulance technicians as they continue to respond to the country’s most critically ill and injured patients.
“It is another example of the health service innovating and harnessing technology to improve patient care as part of the NHS long-term plan.”
The use of iPads has been piloted by ambulance crews in London and the South East, with results showing a positive impact on speeding up the handover of cases and allowing the service to deal with emergencies elsewhere.
They have been used to video call consultants when attending stroke patients to provide faster and more specialised care until they reach hospital.
They have also enabled crews to give tailored treatment according to a patient’s medical history.
Dr Fionna Moore, medical director at South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The iPads are proving invaluable in assisting our clinicians in the rapid identification of stroke patients to expedite their treatment and help identify the most appropriate clinical pathway.
“This direct link to local experts by bringing them into the back of an ambulance via FaceTime is something we are keen to explore further to see how it can be developed in other areas of care for the benefit of our patients.”
Health Minister Edward Argar said: “Our paramedics and ambulance crews play a vital role on the NHS front line, day in, day out.
“By rolling out these iPads we are harnessing modern technology, helping them to help you by enabling them to continue providing the very best emergency care more quickly to more patients.
“Investing in these devices will help the NHS to build back better by ensuring patients and staff are benefiting from the latest technology, and is part of our commitment through the NHS long-term plan to improve care for the future.”