In many respects, EMS seems like the type of work that is set in its ways — and not in a bad way! The best EMS teams operate like well-oiled machines, with tried-and-true practices in place and all workers on the same page. And naturally, this is of tremendous benefit to communities.
As much as the most effective EMS teams rely on firmly established practices though, they also need to be open to change — just like teams in virtually all other types of business today. In particular, if you’re a leader in this field, you need to be open to the different technological changes and advancements that have the potential to improve efficiency and help teams function more effectively. There are already some advancements well worth being aware of in in our field...
Team Communication Platforms
In a short video answering the question ‘What Does it Take to Be Supportive of Your Personnel?’ the idea of effective communication was held up as the most important factor. To an extent, any team in any business is only going to function as well as it communicates. In EMS — when teams are not always in the same place, and when the stakes of proper communication can be high — this point is all the more important.
Effective communication largely comes down to leadership style and an ability to convey a message whether through written or verbal means. Today though, it also means making sure that the team is equipped to use a digital communication platform. According to Business.com, there are several such technologies available that can “keep your team connected and engaged.” While these platforms (Slack, Asana, Teams and a few others) are mostly thought of with regard to traditional office environments, startups, and the like, they can be immensely helpful in modernizing an EMS operation. With the right platform, team members can have easy access to mobile messaging, document sharing, and in many cases HD video chat. It’s simply a more efficient way of keeping everyone connected.
Improved Circuit Boards & Wireless Devices
On a slightly more technical level, leaders today should also be aware of advancements in printed circuit boards and the various technologies and tools they’re helping to enable. Most notable on this front has been the development and improvement of “rigid-flex” PCBs, which are essentially flexible circuit boards capable of being fitted into unusual (and often very small) spaces. These new-age PCBs have countless applications, but in a thorough look at the technology Altium mentions wearables, medical devices, and mobile wireless products are among some of the main products for which rigid-flex PCBs are helpful solutions.
What this means is essentially that many of the devices that might be put to use in EMS are improving rapidly thanks to better internal tech. EMS workers can have reliable, connected wearable devices that make on-the-go communication more seamless; mobile medical devices can be used on patients in need and can communicate in real time; there are even better sensor technology for vehicles that can help managers and dispatchers run fleets more effectively.
5G Network Expansion
On a related note to improving mobile technology, EMS leaders should also be keeping a close eye on the expansion of 5G networks, and how it might be used to improve operations. While we’ve been hearing about 5G for years now, it is beginning to seem as if we’re on the cusp of it becoming a sort of new normal. Various networks are touting their 5G rollouts, and a recent piece at Forbes even brought up the notion of “ubiquitous” 5G in the near future.
The implications of such a future for EMS operations are vast. 5G will make connected fleets more efficient. It will improve the performance of various wireless devices in EMS vehicles, and make it easier for emergency care facilities to be aware of incoming patients. It may even change how EMS teams are alerted in the first place, in that wearable health monitors or implantable AICDs may automatically send for help — over 5G networks — if a patient is at risk of cardiac arrest or traumatically injured. Even these benefits may only scratch the surface.
At the pace at which technology is developing today, it stands to reason that there are potentially helpful developments on the horizon that we still don’t know about also. For now though, the examples above represent some innovative areas for leaders to keep tabs on.
Tech Advancements to Be Aware of
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