Six reasons to go rugged for ambulance services


In a world dominated by digital transformation, it’s no surprise to see digital solutions replacing pen-and-paper workflows throughout various industries from manufacturing to healthcare. Emergency medical services (EMS) is an area that can benefit enormously from the introduction of digital solutions that speed up workflows and save precious, lifesaving minutes and seconds.

Paramedics have traditionally relied on handwritten notes and records, and voice-based communication via two-way radios. With digital transformation, these processes can be streamlined, putting more information at responders’ fingertips sooner and reducing the risk of errors. However, using a consumer-grade device such as a smartphone or tablet in the harsh environments that ambulance crews encounter every day creates risk.

1. Built Rugged to Operate in Emergency Situations

Consumer-grade devices aren’t built to withstand the often challenging conditions that ambulance workers find themselves in. Screen cracking, water damage, drop damage are just some of the potential incidents which can cause consumer-grade devices to fail.

Rugged devices undergo durability testing such as Military Standards (MIL-STD) and Ingress Protection (IP), which test devices for specific requirements on ruggedness, shocks, water, drops, dust and moisture protection, and the ability to withstand extreme temperatures. Providing ambulance crews with a device they can rely on during emergencies.

2. Longer Battery Life

The heavy use required in an ambulance means consumer-grade devices can run out of battery before their users have finished their shift. This creates inconvenience and wasted time as paramedics either wait for the device to recharge or get a replacement device for the rest of their shift.

Rugged devices increase battery life with a high-capacity battery, and dual battery configurations to ensure they stay up and running even during long hospital handovers. Many of them include hot-swappable batteries which allow for a longer, uninterrupted period of operation.

3. Improved Connectivity for Emergency Response

Consumer-grade devices rely on the public cellular network for connectivity. This means first responders could experience call drops-outs, lengthy wait times for large files to come through, and more. Rugged devices boast a mix of connectivity options, including fast Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, built-in GPS, and more. Patient and incident information can be sent to the device in real-time, ensuring first response teams have all the information they need to deliver the right care.

4. Better, Brighter, Stronger Touchscreens

Glare can make it hard to read the information on screens, and consumer-grade touchscreens may not respond to damp fingers, gloves, or styluses. This can compromise patient care at the scene, making it harder for ambulance crews to deliver optimal outcomes.

A rugged device is developed to be used in challenging conditions, including sharp sunlight where glare would otherwise be an issue. And, rugged devices incorporate advanced touchscreens that can be operated while wearing gloves, with a pen or stylus, or even with damp fingers.

5. Secure Sensitive Data

Consumer devices offer rudimentary security that can be easily hacked. This can create security issues for ambulance crews that work with sensitive patient data.

Rugged devices can be outfitted with stronger security measures to account for the highly sensitive and personal information they receive and transmit. Decision-makers should choose devices that have security built-in with multi-factor authentication, OPAL 2.0 SSD self-encryption technology, and Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0, a microprocessor that securely stores authentication data. Rugged devices also let you add fingerprint scanning, smart card, magnetic stripe, or RFID readers, keeping the device secure even if it falls into the wrong hands.

6. Lower total cost of ownership (TCO)

Generally, the purchase price of rugged computers is higher than non-rugged alternatives; however, the failure rates for non-rugged systems are nearly three times higher. Over a five-year lifespan, the higher failure rate of non-rugged systems results in a 42 per cent higher TCO, and a staggering 74 per cent higher TCO including the impact of user downtime.* Rugged systems also provide a long service life and platform stability, which means and accessory infrastructures can often be leveraged for years to come. Rugged computing devices also provide a long service life and platform stability, which means the rugged ecosystem, including supporting software and accessories, can be leveraged for years to come.

*Total Cost of Ownership Models for Line of Business Mobile Solutions, VDC Research, December 2018

Getac Rugged Solutions for First Response Teams

Paramedics work in high-pressure situations, where every second count. Learn how Getac rugged computing solutions help first responders save lives, become more productive and work more efficiently than ever before.


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