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Toughbooks Help To Revolutionise The Recording Of Patient Information For East Midlands Ambulance Service

19th September 2011
Panasonic Toughbooks are helping to revolutionise the way East Midlands Ambulance Service crews record patient information whilst on the road, improving patient care and driving efficiencies to create millions of pounds of savings for the NHS.
 
In October 2011, East Midlands will be the first ambulance service nationally to have fully completed its Electronic Patient Report Form (EPRF) system roll-out. Using the system, the service believes it can cut the number of unnecessary patient transfers, saving millions year-on-year. Forecasts suggest that when the system has been implemented nationally across the 11 Ambulance Services, savings of up to £150m could be made annually.
 
With the EPRF system and the help of Panasonic’s Toughbook mobile computing devices, crew members can electronically record vital information about their patients while at the scene of an emergency. Using the Toughbook devices, this quick and easy system means important health information can be sent to the receiving hospital ahead of the patient’s arrival, or to their GP, and removes the need for time-intensive paperwork.
 
At the start of a shift, crews log on to the system using their Toughbook rugged notebook.  Control Despatchers can then send incident information directly to the Toughbook while the crew is on road.
 
After arriving at the location, the system allows crew members to record detailed clinical findings and treatments for the benefit of the receiving hospital, the patient’s GP or other ambulance crews as required.
 
The paramedics are also able to access a number of other useful resources through the device, including a wide range of reference tools such as treatment and medication guidelines, and GP contact details.
 
As well as assisting the crews in their emergency calls the information recorded also allows Ambulance Service administrators to capture and analyse treatment data in realtime, helping them to more efficiently manage the emergency service.
 
Speaking about their choice of device, East Midlands Ambulance Service’s Head of ICT, Andy Evans, said: “We quickly realized that the Panasonic Toughbooks were right for the job we wanted to do in the field. A lot of the time our crews are out in the cold, wet and snow, and in dirty conditions, such as under cars at road traffic accidents. In these conditions it is very often impossible to keep the equipment clean and dry they regularly take hard knocks.”
 
The Panasonic Toughbook CF-18 and now CF-19 models are ideal for emergency services use as they are specially designed to deal with the harsh environment of an emergency services shift.
 
The Toughbook CF-19 is the ultimate in durability and reliability. A magnesium-thickened casing offers maximum protection for the most sensitive components such as the display. Hard drives are secured against impact and shock. A fall from a height of 90cm does not affect functionality in any way, and a special protective coating provides dust and water resistance. The devices can also be wiped down to clean and meet infection control requirements.
 
The CF-19 is the leading convertible rugged notebook, which means that the device can be used as a conventional laptop or converted to a tablet PC for easy use by paramedics. The lightweight device can easily be held with one hand and the bright touchscreen LCD display is convenient to use both inside and outside in bright light conditions.
 
Finally, the CF-19 is built for reliable communications when in the field. With 3G wireless communications capability the device can ensure ambulance crews are able to transmit and receive critical information securely whilst on the move.
 
With 500 Toughbook devices now in use within the East Midlands Ambulance Service, Andy says it is amazing how resilient the devices have been.
 
“The failure rates are amazingly low. Our objective is to be able to offer our patients the very best care, in the best location in the fastest possible time and the Toughbooks help us achieve this more efficiently than ever before.”

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