NewsTelemedicine is a Hot Topic at NAEMSP Annual Meeting

Telemedicine is a Hot Topic at NAEMSP Annual Meeting

In mid-January, I attended this year’s NAEMSP (National Association of EMS Physicians) Annual Meeting in Tucson. The meeting was, by all accounts, a great success. With record attendance and a vibrant program of events, the days in Tucson represented time well-spent for everyone.

For me, one of the hot topic take-aways was the participation in the Community Paramedicine Committee meeting. By my estimate, over 100 EMS professionals attended the concurrent lunchtime session. That represents about 14% of the overall conference attendance – quite impressive! For the first order of business, the committee agreed to re-name itself the “Mobile Integrated Healthcare – Community Paramedicine” committee. This puts it in line with other collaborative national organizations such as NASEMSO and NAEMT.

“Whenever possible and practical, telemedicine should be utilized…”

The group also finalized some word-smithing of the committee’s mission/vision statement. This included the statement (paraphrasing) “Whenever possible and practical, telemedicine should be utilized…”. This supports what we at General Devices have believed for some time now: That Mobile Telemedicine is a technology tool that supports and enhances prehospital care. Since our first presentation on this topic at the Gathering of Eagles in to 2005, and a follow-on session at NAEMSP in 2006, General Devices has been the leader in the advancement of mobile telemedicine as a vital adjunct to EMS. We’ve always been ahead of the curve – until now. Today, there is a real convergence of technology (in the form of computing power and lightweight, low-cost mobile devices, wireless broadband) and changes in healthcare that demand improving quality while reducing costs. This evolution has led us to affordable, practical and of course HIPAA secure, PC and mobile app solutions.

It’s clear there are many MIH-CP programs underway with many more on the drawing board, and the committee is a great forum for the sharing of ideas and experiences. But this is not a “one-size fits all” business and there are no clear right or wrong answers to many questions. While some are jumping into Mobile Integrated Healthcare or Community Paramedicine with both feet, others are hesitant. I believe this is definitely a case where “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” My advice? Just do it (I’ve heard that somewhere). The pendulum will swing on what works and what does not. Easy for me to say…

Remember, like MIH, telemedicine is a broad term. It includes live video conferencing (telepresence) as well as simpler and perhaps more practical forwarding of pictures, recorded video clips and data. As evidenced by the interest at NAEMSP and the naming of our e-Bridge Mobile system a 2013 Innovation Award Winner by EMS World, we are poised to help EMS & MIH-CP make mobile telemedicine an integral part of their service offerings.

Interested in a pilot or trial? I encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have about mobile telemedicine or other EMS communications needs.

Curt Bashford,

President