The NAEMSP annual meeting provided an opportunity for physicians, fellows, associated professionals and students to meet and discuss ways to improve out-of-hospital emergency medical care. This was FirstNet’s first time exhibiting at the conference, which is attended by more than 800 people from around the world.
EMS Board Member Kevin McGinnis joined Senior EMS Advisor Brent Williams to meet with EMS physicians and listen to their ideas, provide updates on FirstNet, and answer questions related to the deployment of the nationwide public safety broadband network.
The FirstNet network will provide significant ways to improve out-of-hospital emergency care for physicians, paramedics and EMTs alike. Emergency medicine, especially in the field, is one of the most challenging areas of medical care. FirstNet will provide emergency medical professionals access to more data in real-time. This will increase situational awareness for EMTs, and being able to transfer and receive medical information over a secure, prioritized network could enhance tele-medical care in general—especially in rural areas or areas where there are large events and crowds of people.
Many conversations at NAEMSP were held with EMS physicians, most of whom serve as the medical directors for their local EMS agencies. There was a lot of excitement about the potential of FirstNet and discussions of how the network could be used to enhance patient care in the EMS setting. EMS agencies are increasingly using commercial wireless providers to transmit various types of medical data, and several physicians said that those uses were often slowed or restricted by busy commercial spectrum.
The NAEMSP exhibit hall featured several examples of software applications that aggregate field EMS patient data; send it to the hospital; and there, present it in video form that is visually organized. Apps like these help hospital staff keep track of incoming patients and stay abreast of treatments they receive in the field. Today, many similar apps are slowed as they use commercial networks for transmission. They could be helped with the high-speed possibilities of the FirstNet network.
FirstNet appreciates the opportunity to work closely with EMS associations, and having a larger presence this year at NAEMSP was especially important as we move closer to network deployment. We look forward to our continued work with NAEMSP, partnering with their EMS physician members to enhance the lifesaving work they do for the out-of-hospital medical community.