Scottish Ambulance Service installs rugged tablets in emergency fleet

GetacThe Scottish Ambulance Service has signed a deal with leading ICT supplier Terrafix to use Getac’s T800 fully rugged Windows 8.1 tablets within its fleet of emergency vehicles.

Under the framework contract, Terrafix will supply 1200 of the 8.1in Windows tablets from Getac, the global designer and manufacturer of rugged mobile technology.

Each ambulance will be equipped with two tablets, one for use in the front of the vehicle for mobilisation and routing, and the other positioned in the rear of the vehicle, but remaining portable to be used as a method of recording Electronic Patient Report Forms. Paramedics benefit from high-speed processing power and an 8.1in display for accessing critical patient information, while also providing full ruggedisation designed for critical field performance, ensuring focus on patient care.

The device complements the Terrafix Aggregator (T.AGG), a vehicle-based communications management hub with integrated GPS that streams data to the T800 tablets.

Designed, developed and manufactured by Terrafix, the T.AGG can access up to four cellular networks for broadband data communications plus an option to interface to any other communications system such as satellite or point-to-point radio, supplying optimal data aggregation, coverage and bandwidth in the most challenging environments. Coupled with built-in dual Wi-Fi and Bluetooth the T.AGG will provide a powerful facility to stream high data dependant applications to and from any mobile device.

The complete system is the first step in Scottish Ambulance Service’s Telehealth programme and their 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.

This programme will enable access for the healthcare services within the community; this will be achieved by providing the capability to turn the ambulance into a communication hub for real-time data sharing and live patient consultation with access to remote healthcare professionals.

Liam Coughlan, Programme Manager, Scottish Ambulance Service, said, “The investment in new technology for emergency ambulances will ultimately widen the range of diagnostics that can be performed out of hospital and connect patients to clinical consultations. This will allow the patient to be treated safely in the community, where appropriate, reducing unnecessary admissions and the need for a long journeys to hospital.

“We needed a device that could survive every environmental condition, because device failure can be the difference between life and death. With the Getac T800, we have a device that can handle drops, shocks and performs in all weathers, while still being extremely portable and easy to use. It gives us reliability and therefore, peace of mind.”

GetacThe T800’s 8.1in screen allows patient data to be read even in direct sunlight and new information to be entered easily thanks to Getac’s proprietary Lumibond® screen technology. With ruggedisation to military standards (MIL-STD-810G) the T800 can survive a drop of 6ft and with an ingress protection rating of IP65 and operating temperatures between -21°C to 50°C, the T800 is designed for all weather.

Running Windows 8.1, the T800 incorporates BitLocker disk encryption, which provides government-level data security.

The T800 incorporates the latest communication interface technology for unparalleled connectivity. The unit plugged into the docking station makes use of the ambulance’s in-built connectivity, while the mobile field-use terminal can connect to data networks via 4G, Bluetooth and 802.11ac WiFi. Weighing just 880g, the T800 is one of the thinnest and lightest devices of its class, making it perfect for both portable and fixed use.

Chris Green, Terrafix Managing Director, said, “Utilising the Getac T800 alongside the Terrafix T.AGG provided us with the opportunity to put forward a bid-winning system. The Scottish Ambulance Service’s vision of mobile consultation, coupled with reducing the need to travel to receive healthcare, can now start to become a reality. The Getac T800’s reliability and extended support proved the best choice for this mission-critical system.”

Peter Molyneux, President, Getac UK, said, “The T800, with its unparalleled connectivity, ruggedisation and portability, fits perfectly into the Terrafix solution. We are very pleased our hardware can perform a critical role in the complete technology solution, which is helping Scottish Ambulance Service to protect life and health for people across Scotland.”

The Terrafix solution will be running on over 500 ambulances and emergency vehicles across Scotland and associated islands. The first tablets will be rolled out to the ambulance fleet this summer with completion expected in early 2016.