2016 EMS Tech Advancements
When it comes to saving lives, efficient is always better.
Faster, less bulky, easier to use—all terms medical professionals like to see used to describe medical equipment, as the technology to do so becomes more widely available. Journal of Emergency Medical Services editor-in-chief A.J. Heightman, MPA, EMT-P explored some of the most high-tech advancements in key equipment for EMS personnel becoming available or expected to take off.
Advancements in Resuscitation
In 2015, the American Heart Association (AHA) released an update to their guidelines, which included a piece on resuscitation. In the section titled “Part 6: Alternative Techniques and Ancillary Devices for CPR,” the AHA explains:
“The use of mechanical [piston and compression band] devices may be considered in specific settings where the delivery of high-quality manual compressions may be challenging or dangerous for the provider (e.g., limited rescuers available, prolonged CPR, during hypothermic cardiac arrest, in a moving ambulance, in the angiography suite, during preparation for extracorporeal CPR [ECPR]), provided that rescuers strictly limit interruptions in CPR during deployment and removal of the devices.”
According to the Journal of Emergency Medical Services, the new release from AHA also acknowledges “that active compression-decompression (ACD) CPR is now recognized as being effective when coupled with an impedance threshold device (ITD) to enhance venous return during chest decompression and improve blood flow to vital organs.” Mechanical compression devices are still being tested and vetted to become available to EMS agencies.
Ventilator Technology Changes
The Journal of Emergency Medical Services also makes note of advancements in ventilator technology, which have become more compact and simpler to operate. Medical helicopters in some states and cities are already successfully using them, and Heightman calls the devices’ use in ambulances a “natural fit,” explaining that the manual process of resuscitation is outdated and inefficient when a better alternative exists.
Heightman also noted several other advancements to ambulance technology thanks to common modern conveniences, including added cameras, more accessible stretchers and more.