£1 million investment in Telehealth

 Friday 10 June 2016

The Scottish Ambulance Service is investing £1 million in the second phase of a programme to upgrade the technology on emergency ambulances as part of its long-term strategy to deliver clinically focused, high quality care to patients.

Funded by the Scottish Government, the programme will upgrade the current electronic patient record system and provide software to support clinical decision-making including the creation of a proprietary software application. It follows £3.5 million of investment in hardware for ambulances in phase one of the project last year.

The bespoke decision support app will provide immediate access to clinical guidelines, hospital guides, standard operating procedures, major incident information and local patient referral options for those patients who do not need to go to hospital and can be treated safely at home or in the local community. Staff will also have access to incident reporting software from the vehicle, which was previously only accessible from station PCs. Data will be automatically transferred from the vehicle to Service servers to support and drive continuous audit and development of clinical practice.

The Telehealth Programme is integral to the Scottish Ambulance Service’s new strategic framework “Towards 2020: Taking Care to the Patient”, which seeks to improve care for patients by bringing appropriate aspects of urgent or unscheduled care closer to them in their home or local community.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “I’m pleased to see the next phase of this project to upgrade the technology on emergency ambulances getting underway – supported by £1million of Scottish Government investment.

“Technology plays an ever more vital role in our NHS, helping to deliver safer, faster and more effective care.

“The Scottish Ambulance Service provides a critical and immediate service to patients and this investment in new technology will help crews to make quicker, more informed treatment decisions at the scene.”

Pauline Howie, Chief Executive, Scottish Ambulance Service said:
“As we deliver our strategy, more treatment pathways will be integrated with the wider NHS and social services to provide the best possible care in the most appropriate environment. This investment ensures that our staff will have important patient referral options at their fingertips, without having to spend time checking with local hospitals and other agencies. It will support clinical decision making to deliver the most appropriate care for patients that best meets their needs.

“The rapid and automatic assimilation of clinical data from electronic patient reporting will inform the continued learning and development that results in ambulance teams saving more lives.

The new technology will be rolled out across the operational emergency ambulance fleet by July 2017.