Private Ambulance Service Will Use Alexa to Help First Responders Know What to Do
An ambulance driver who rolls up on a patient and needs a little guidance – quickly – on possible treatments for what he’s seeing could get some help from Alexa soon in a town in Massachusetts.
The privately-owned Brewster Ambulance Service will begin using Alexa Echos in its ambulances this year, giving emergency medical responders some hands-free help on treatment protocols, the Massachusetts news website WickedLocal.com reported. The company has 250 ambulances in 26 Massachusetts and Rhode Island communities , including Quincy, Braintree, Plymouth, Taunton and Brockton.
The Echos will be programed to include the state’s Emergency Medical Services Statewide Treatment Protocols, which lists standards of care for emergency medical technicians. In print, it’s a big document that most EMTs have available either on a laptop or tablet in the ambulance, or even on paper. Paramedics and EMTs know the protocols, but often refer to document to double check – now those checks will be easier.
EMTs will be able to just yell at the Echo in their WiFi-equipped ambulance to get an answer.
A responding paramedic might yell, “Tell me about congestive heart failure,” Brewster’s clinical director, Chris DiBona, told the website. Alexa would respond with the state protocol for treating that medical event. DiBona said it also will be able to provide further information such as what hospital is nearest, and which nearby hospital is the best one for the particular condition the patient has.
Respoders won’t input any specific identifying patient information into the system, so there aren’t any privacy issues, DiBona said.
The service hopes to have the Echos on board and working by July, after some kinks – such as Alexa’s difficulty in understanding some Latin medical terms – are worked out.
The company is working on some other high tech systems to better serve the community. One is a fleet-tracking software that can help in dispatching the closest ambulance to a call, and can track traffic dynamics, so ambulances can be better positioned to avoid heavy traffic.
The company also is planning to implement virtual or augmented reality software into its training for new recruits, allowing them to practice on 3-D hologram-like renderings of bodies.