Choosing the Right Telematics Technology to Support Medical Services

Emergency responders need to arrive at the scene as quickly and safely as possible, equipped with all the assets and connectivity required for each emergency. This is becoming more difficult as the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted EMS response teams from transport-only teams to out-of-hospital extensions. They require real-time, connected solutions to create a coordinated response that meets the needs of patients in the field. This mobile approach enables frictionless communication between teams and is the first step towards the future of emergency response.

We’ll explore how telematics plays a bigger role for medical services fleets and why first responders are eager to adopt such platforms to manage their vehicles.

The Role of Telematics in Emergency Response

Emergency medical services face great pressure to operate faster and more efficiently. Not only is efficiency good for their bottom line, but studies have also found that prolonged time at the scene results in increased mortality rates for patients in transport.

The pandemic drove a greater need for emergency medical response to stay agile and connected during times of increased public need. Last year, the telematics industry saw strong adoption, with over 12 million vehicles in North America alone coming with pre-installed telematics hardware and connectivity.

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However, 2020 presented new challenges to public health that required vehicles to perform additional health and safety-related duties, which required their vehicles to be connected to the dispatch center (and vice versa). In addition, fleet managers were also under increased pressure to make adaptive management decisions using insights from the field.

Consequently, there was a transformation in how telematics supported medical services:

  • Asset Tracking is an Imperative: The asset tracking market is expected to double in size by 2024 as fleets look for ways to make their vehicles more efficient. Asset tracking is critical for avoiding PPE and equipment shortages, like what was experienced by many EMS, police, and public safety first responders during the first months of COVID-19.
  • Embedded and Bi-Directional Video Telematics: These are the fastest-growing features in telematics. More fleet managers are using this technology to increase safety and decrease the total cost of ownership (TCO).
  • Emphasis on Efficiency: There is a growing increase in demand for solutions that enhance efficacy and efficiency for first-mile and last-mile fleet logistics, improve mobile resource utilization, and increase revenue growth.
  • Real-Time Insights: The leverage of big data analytics is becoming a must-have for predictive fleet management and the right-sizing of fleets. Before 2020, fleet success was judged by the number of vehicles owned and operated. Now, success is based on operational efficiency.


Why Emergency Medical Service Teams Are Adopting Telematics Technology

To understand the growing demand in telematics, look at which features are being leveraged and how they impact a fleet’s safety, efficiency, and bottom line.


GPS Tracking

The average ambulance wait time is 8 minutes. That number can increase to as high as 30 minutes in remote areas. Therefore, deploying the most strategic emergency vehicle is crucial.


With GPS telematics, fleet managers can implement strategic vehicle assignments using comprehensive visibility of all vehicle positions in the field. Fleet managers can identify the fastest route to an emergency scene using near real-time location and traffic data.


Track live response times to ensure your team is quickly responding to emergencies and taking the most efficient route during time-sensitive situations. Go a step further by leveraging historical data to track speed, harsh braking, and acceleration from all vehicles in the field. Not only does this improve driver behavior and reduce collisions, but it also opens up conversations with first responder teams about safety behaviors while driving.


Through the central command center, fleets can also call for additional support. These real-time information exchanges create situational awareness for dispatch centers to make on-the-spot tactical decisions.


During an active pursuit, GPS tracking allows monitoring of teams in the field to make strategic decisions on vehicle formations, cut-off points, and dispatching new team members. For example, when firefighters have limited visibility during dense or remote fires, telematics provides supervisors with bird’s-eye visibility and improves chances of a successful recovery.


Asset Tracking & Management

A big part of emergency response is preparedness to respond to a multitude of situations. To enhance the readiness of their fleets, managers are relying on asset tracking telematics for their vehicles, PPE, and other important assets.


Monitor equipment needs in near real-time by running engine diagnostics, checking sensors, and automating inventory counts to maintain a live record of your high-value BLS equipment. Always guarantee critical equipment is available by tracking and managing your mission-critical assets, including life-saving PPE, to help ensure fleet and public safety.


Fleet Management

One of the most powerful functions of telematics is the technology’s ability to provide in-depth insight and remote monitoring for a connected, distributed emergency response. Dispatch centers can use data to make proactive decisions that streamline existing workflows, such as optimizing first responder routes, reducing fuel expenses, tracking asset availability, and making better-informed decisions.


Telematics also provides game-changing connectivity. When every second counts, first responders need access to reliable connectivity regardless of their location and without fear of throttling. First Priority™ and Band 14 are helping first responders share information during emergencies and collaborate on joint missions across vast expanses of remote territories.


Finally, telematics helps create a connected system of front-line agencies by streamlining everything through a central dashboard. Fleet Complete Mobile and Dispatch for FirstNet allow dispatchers to quickly locate the closest available units, dispatch across multiple networks, track the safety status of rescue teams, and pull date and GPS-stamped reports from one singular source.


Telematic Solutions That Support All Types of First Responders

The way emergency teams rely on telematics is shifting as the world responds to the pandemic and the growing number of natural disasters. Fleet Complete is evolving alongside the industry to provide full-coverage support to emergency responders and those who support them.


An unprecedented collaborative approach allows fleet managers, dispatch centers, and their teams on the ground to have connectivity, visibility, and a proactive response to situations as they arise.


To learn more about how fleets can improve their medical services’ first response through telematics, request a Fleet Complete for FirstNet demo today.


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