The 5G “Connected Ambulance” concept, proposed by CIT INFINITE (INF) and DellEMC with the support from Irish National Ambulance Services through Irish Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, will advance the emergency ambulance services as they develop new collaborative models with their healthcare stakeholders to help create improved experiences and outcomes for patients in their care. The vision of the Connected Ambulance combines many advanced technologies that come together to enable the delivery of better life enhancing outcomes for patients. Communications capabilities that can deliver challenging performance requirements in 5G will be fundamental, as the Connected Ambulance will act as a connection hub (or mobile edge) for the emergency medical equipment and wearables, enabling storing and potential real-time streaming of patient data to the awaiting emergency department team at the destination hospital. The continuous collection and streaming of patient data will begin when the emergency ambulance paramedics arrive at the incident scene right up until the delivery of the patient to the emergency department at the destination hospital.
Wearables will enable the provision of enhanced patient insights and the goal is for all paramedics to have wearable clothing that can provide real-time video feeds as well as other sensor related data pertaining to the immediate environment. 567 million wearable devices will be employed in Europe in 2030, a 66-fold increase from the 8.5 million in 2015 according to EC research forecasts [EC-5G]. The availability of patient related real-time video stream to the awaiting emergency department will enable more intelligent decision support for the paramedics attending the patient. Real-time streaming video will enable the awaiting emergency department professionals to remotely monitor the patient for conditions that are not easily sensed such as skin pallor and patient demeanour. In a more ambitious scenario, life-saving remote assistance might be required on the ambulance, supervised by a specialist located elsewhere and connected to the same platform. Clearly, some of these events will require high-resolution video capabilities, e.g., the remote assistance will require ultra-high-definition video streaming from the ambulance to the remote site where the specialist is located. This enhanced and interactive communication between the medical professional teams and the remote paramedics attending to the patient will lead to fundamental improvements in emergency medical care and improve the probability of better patient outcomes. INF and DellEMC plan to develop a demonstrator for this 5G eHealth Connected Ambulance use case in Ireland within this project.