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Ambulance paramedics trialling new technology

Ambulance paramedics trialling new technology

Health Minister Tony Ryall says new technology being introduced by St John ambulance, and partially funded by the government, will change the way paramedics work in the field.

“Paramedics will soon be using a handheld electronic device that gives crews access to new tools at the touch of a button, improving their ability to provide care on the frontline,” says Mr Ryall.

Mr Ryall says not only will the new system replace the four carbon copies of paperwork currently used, it also means crews can forward patient information electronically to an emergency department – all while on the road.

“For example, ambulance crews can send photos of injuries to specialists for advice, such as patients trapped in car accidents,” says Mr Ryall.

Mr Ryall says in a world-first move, GPs will be sent a summary of their patient’s ambulance callouts.

“Previously, some GPs never knew that their patients were calling an ambulance. In one case, a patient called an ambulance about their medication eight times before their GP was finally notified and made a minor change which stopped the calls,” says Mr Ryall.

“This is significant when you consider that nearly 20 per cent of ambulance call outs are for high users with four or more callouts a year,” says Mr Ryall.

The government is allocating $2.5 million towards the development of the devices – with ACC contributing $500,000, and the Ministry of Health contributing the remainder.

St John will pilot devices from mid-May, followed by a phased rollout from the end of the year taking around 12 months. Wellington Free Ambulance expects to start implementing the devices following the completion of St John’s roll-out.


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