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Rugged Computing Case Studies

Algiz 10X emergency response system improves efficiency for ambulance workers
by Brynna King

Sweden is improving its emergency healthcare efforts with Paratus, a modular solution built on Handheld's Algiz 10X rugged tablet. Swedish emergency responders are using the Algiz 10X emergency response tablet to send critical status updates to hospital workers as they happen, increasing emergency healthcare efficiency and improving patient outcomes.

Paratus is a module-based information management system for emergency responders designed by Swedish security and defense company Saab. Swedish ambulance workers use Paratus Mobile System software on Algiz 10X rugged tablets to navigate to accident sites, classify and monitor patient conditions and treatment, and report information back to emergency dispatchers and hospital staff in the form of status updates.

Algiz 10X units running Paratus Mobile System have been installed in Swedish ambulances. Most recently, Saab deployed Algiz 10X rugged tablets equipped with SITHS smart card readers. SITHS (Secure IT for health care) is based on a two-factor electronic authentication protocol and is the current standard for all National Quality Registries in Sweden. The healthcare tablets can be operated while vehicles are in transit, or undocked for handheld use directly at a treatment site.

"The Paratus solution assists and simplifies work for ambulance staff by providing a single system that can coordinate and manage all the equipment and information necessary for an assignment," says Antoine Haddad, Paratus product owner at Saab.

Reporting for duty

Paratus Mobile System communicates directly with Paratus modules on hospital computers. When an ambulance enters service, a dispatcher can use a desktop module to send workers new assignments over TETRA, the European communications infrastructure used by public safety groups.

When ambulance staff receive an assignment, they acknowledge and accept it within Paratus; then the Algiz 10X automatically displays navigation information powered by its built-in u-blox GPS receiver and Paratus mapping software. Emergency medical dispatchers are able to monitor the location of the ambulance as it moves toward the accident site. When a response vehicle reaches its destination, workers use the emergency response tablet to confirm arrival.

"The solution integrates everything responders need to receive assignments, report status updates and navigate to response sites," Haddad says.

In addition to progress and location-based status updates, ambulance workers use Paratus Mobile System to quickly and easily record patient treatment data and initiate transfer to a hospital. Simply touching a button on the Algiz 10X tablet communicates relevant details to the correct emergency departments.

These status reports may include successful retrieval of a patient, selection of a hospital destination and details of the patient's transfer to another care unit. The healthcare tablet records and collects all treatment details into a secure, confidential data log that can be submitted to the patient's doctors for review.

"The ambulance data reports are deemed so valuable that they are used by doctors throughout the entire treatment process," says Jerker Hellström, CEO of Handheld Group. "The improved and extended patient care history is filed and used for overall analyses, evaluations and decision support."

Once a patient has been successfully treated and, in most cases, transferred to a hospital, ambulance workers confirm task completion on the Algiz 10X and Paratus displays the vehicle status as ready for a new assignment.

Speed and reliability when every minute counts

For emergency fieldworkers, the success of a complete information management system depends on the technology running that system. Real-time data can't wait for slow, clunky or fragile computers, or shaky wireless connectivity. And without fast processing speed, reliability in harsh environments, an easy-to-use interface and robust connectivity capabilities, even a leading-edge system such as Paratus may be no more helpful than less advanced solutions.

But the innovative has a suitable complement in the Algiz 10X. This rugged tablet features a quad-core processor and generous expandable storage space and memory. It's built for harsh handling and use in outdoor environments, so it can be undocked at a moment's notice and taken into any outdoor condition, from bright direct sunlight to freezing rain. Ambulance workers use Handheld's Algiz 10X rugged tablet with Paratus Mobile System to communicate with hospitals

Its screen adjusts backlighting automatically to easily view maps and data entry screens, and its resistive touchscreen is operable even with wet hands or while wearing gloves. An IP65 rating and adherence to stringent MIL-STD-810G U.S. military standards allows unhindered performance when the unit is exposed to water, dust, drops, strong vibrations and extreme temperatures — so emergency responders can focus on protecting their patients, not their technology.

This emergency response tablet has several powerful wireless communication and connectivity options that are enhanced by its ability to be docked directly to emergency vehicles equipped with external antennas. And it runs the Windows IT infrastructure most hospitals use, allowing all connected devices to relay information seamlessly back and forth as responders work.

"By using the Windows operating system, Handheld's Algiz 10X takes the ambulance staff's office solution into the field," Haddad says. "They can carry the rugged tablet and all their information and data collection systems directly to the accident and perform their work on site."

Ready to respond

Thousands of patients and their medical workers have benefited since Sweden began implementing Saab's solution in their hospitals and emergency departments. "Paratus minimizes the time required to record patient information and allows for quicker patient transfer, so emergency technicians can devote more of their time to caring for patients," Haddad explains.

The name Paratus comes from a Latin word that means "prepared" — and this solution lives up to that name. Paratus Mobile System, combined with the Algiz 10X rugged tablet from Handheld, anticipates emergency responders' needs and consolidates the tools they use, preparing them to do their work well.

See Handheld Algix 10X product page
See's testing of the Handheld Algiz 10X

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