SECAMB, or The South East Coast Ambulance Service as its formally known is one of the largest Ambulance Trusts in the UK with a fleet of in excess of 600 vehicles operating over 3,600 square miles in the south east of England.
Many of these vehicles will be involved in responding to emergency events, potentially requiring as little as a 7-minute response for some of the most urgent, life threatening calls.
In these cases, there is clearly a need for advanced driving at speed from the clinicians and with an increase in speed and urgency comes a corresponding increase in risk of accident along the route.
This accident could be as small as a broken wing mirror or a full vehicle collision; either way they are classified as a Road Traffic Collision.
If any of us have the misfortune to be involved in a Road Traffic Collusion (RTC), we are obliged to stop, take down details and report this to our insurers. The Ambulance crews at SECAMB are no different, but the obvious problem is, (in most cases), they really do need to be somewhere else instead of taking down details.
Finding owners, taking down details, names, photographs, and potential injuries all take time, and whilst necessary, it’s also understandable that operational time pressures can lead to mistakes and missed information.
In fact, when the crews end their shift, there may not even be time to write up the report until the next shift.
The result of this recording dilemma is that valuable response time is lost at the RTC location and records can be either inaccurate, incorrectly claimed, or not claimed at-all. As with all things insurance related, this ultimately leads to liability and cost either through claims or premiums, which can run up to hundreds of thousands of pounds per year.
Through a series of discovery workshops with the front-line crews, and the operational team at SECAMB, we designed an optimised reporting process making maximum use of the available digital technologies to focus on addressing the two biggest issues, i.e., reduce on site time and maximise information gathering and accuracy.
The solution was to implement a lightweight, tablet-based app, which could be launched at the location of the RTC (with single sign on), and pre-populate the incident record with information, such as the user, the time, the location (from GPS), the vehicle they were already driving, driver, shift details etc.
We then implemented the ability to identify and look up the details of any vehicles involved in the incident by integrating into the government Driver & Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) systems to pull back all the information available. Importantly the whole solution also included the ability to run on and off-line for when the coverage was low and then re-sync back to base when in range of service.
Finally, the record was supplemented with other details such as photographs, voice records and other contextual information, which were automatically packaged up and submitted directly to the SECAMB insurer and base, allowing the insurer and fleet management team to manage the whole incident lifecycle and get the crew back onto the callout.
It’s a great, relatively simple, but extremely effective example of how digital products can transform operational services and provide demonstrable process, service and cost returns in year.