American Medical Response plans to equip 4,000 ambulances with
a wireless network gateway from In Motion Technology. AMR will use the onBoard Mobile Gateway 1000 technology
to enable Internet access from its ambulances in the field.
The gateway provides a managed platform for integrating wireless
devices (basically monitor/defibs) used by AMR's ambulance crews. The
gateway connects 802.11b/g wireless medical devices to cellular
networks. The gateway can support multiple wireless devices and manages
security and authentication of devices connecting to the gateway.
American Medical Response hopes to use the onBoard Mobile
Gateway to facilitate the transfer of patient information from an
ambulance to a hospital. Initially, it will use the technology to
transfer GPS location data from ambulances to its centralized dispatch
office to track the vehicles.
"Hopes" is the operative word here. Current monitor/defibs include
their own connectivity to cellular networks and may not be easily
reconfigured to use the gateway. (Of course the promise of a 4,000 unit
order could engender a certain flexibility on the part of vendors.)
Existing wirelessly enabled devices using 802.11b/g, like those used in
hospitals, could connect to the gateway. Welch Allyn sells ruggedized patient monitors into AMR's market, but their wireless monitors currently use 802.11 FH.
From an enterprise IT management perspective, this is definitely the
right move for AMR. It's just going to take a while for the vendors to
[Hat tip Mobile Health Data]
UPDATE: Here's an example of a wireless ambulance application, a trail that's being done in Cincinnati.
While they make it sound like this is the first time a deployment like
this has been done, it's not. Also note the $365,000 study costs. One
of the barriers to implementing this is the need to buy all new
monitor/defibs that have the wireless capability. Given that most
ambulances serve multiple hospitals, it's usually difficult for a
single hospital to justify this expense.
UPDATE: And here's another wireless EMS application.