Natural and man-made disasters have a way of exposing inefficiencies. For example, it only takes one tornado outbreak to reveal just how weak a community’s emergency healthcare system is. In the aftermath of such a disaster, public and private sector partners work on correcting those problems they previously identified. A case in point is implementing ‘treat-in-place’ protocols.
Government Technology contributor Craig Settles wrote a compelling piece in January 2022 explaining how communities can better serve disaster victims by providing telehealth services. One of the things he mentioned is a trend among state and local governments to give first responders more freedom to treat patients in place.
In other words, instead of simply stabilizing patients and then transporting them to emergency rooms, first responders are being allowed to conduct diagnostics in the field and treat accordingly. If an emergency room visit can be avoided, doing so is better for both patient and hospital.
Telemedicine Makes It Happen
Treat-in-place is not yet the standard across the country. But as it catches on, more and more first responders will be practicing it. The key to treat-in-place is telemedicine. Without the right telemedicine tools, it just cannot happen in a safe manner.
CSI Health is a San Antonio, TX company that designs and builds telemedicine solutions. Their X-1 Mobile Unit offers critical diagnostics in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster. But the company does not stop there. They also design and build telemedicine kiosks and entire remote clinics.
Each product in the CSI Health inventory can be equipped with a variety of diagnostic tools. From a basic blood pressure cuff or digital stethoscope to complete ultrasound and EKG/ECG capabilities, modern telehealth solutions bring real-time diagnostics into the field.
Mobile Emergency Clinics
Taking a single mobile unit the size of a suitcase into a disaster zone is better than not being able to treat in place. But single units alone are not enough in some situations. Instead, entire mobile clinics that can roll in and set up are needed. How can we pull that off? By converting motorhomes and trucks into rolling emergency clinics.
A motorhome or travel trailer makes an ideal foundation for a mobile emergency clinic. Remember that motorhomes and travel trailers are designed from the factory to be self-contained, complete with lighting, plumbing, and heat.
Convert a motorhome into a rolling medical clinic and you have a self-contained environment that can theoretically support a treat-in-place plan indefinitely. With the right telemedicine solutions on board, a rolling clinic can serve a community’s needs for as long as it takes to rebuild damaged medical facilities and infrastructure.
Certain Things Need to Happen
In order for all of this to become reality though, certain things are going to need to happen. First and foremost, state and local governments that have not yet given first responders the authority to treat in place need to get on the ball. First responders need that ability during emergency situations. When lives are at stake, there are very few legitimate reasons for not allowing treat in place.
Second, broadband and cellular internet services need to be upgraded to the latest technologies. Telemedicine solutions rely on the internet to function. If service is slow or virtually nonexistent, even the best rolling healthcare clinic will be of little value.
Treat in place is gaining traction as an emergency medicine protocol. And telemedicine is the fuel that makes it run. With the right telemedicine solutions, treat in place can alleviate emergency room overcrowding, increase first responder efficiency, and ultimately save lives during difficult situations.