Paramedics offered live streaming from 999 callers’ phone cameras

Written by Sam Trendall on 18 November 2019 in News
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London Ambulance Service deploys technology allowing medical professionals to assess injuries and decide on appropriate response

Credit: Eddie/CC BY-ND 2.0 (Image has been cropped)

Paramedics in London have been given the ability to view live-streamed video from the mobile-phone cameras of 999 callers.

According to the London Ambulance Service, the ability to view this footage before arriving on scene can help medical professionals gain understanding of a patient’s injuries and plan how best to respond.

The technology is currently being used for the most serious trauma incidents, such as stabbings and traffic accidents. The ambulance service hopes that use of live video can better inform decisions about whether or not to deploy an air ambulance. The vehicles, which are sent to the most critically injured patients, are dispatched about five times each day across the capital.


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Using the Instant-on-Scene platform from software firm GoodSAM, if a 999 caller gives verbal permission, they are then sent a text containing a link which can be clicked to allow control-room staff to access a stream from their phone’s camera. Since being implemented last month, the platform has been used 67 times.

Chief medical officer for the London Ambulance Service Dr Fenella Wrigley said: “This technology is groundbreaking in London Ambulance Service and is already making an impact helping the most critically injured people in the capital. Viewing the scene live on video helps ensure specialist resources, like London’s air ambulance, are sent to where they are needed the most. The technology helps clinicians assess the patient’s condition and enables them to provide medical advice and support whilst ambulance and air ambulance clinical teams are on the way to the scene.”

Wrigley added that the service “will be looking at how in the future we can extend the use of this technology in other areas”.  

For the next 12 months, use of the software is being offered free of charge by GoodSAM to the London Air Ambulance charity. 

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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