Through shared projects, knowledge dissemination and research, Prehospital ICT Arena finds new ways of implementing IT and eHealth in the prehospital medical care, for example in ambulance care.
Facing the major challenges of today’s and future healthcare, it’s more important than ever to efficiently identify and utilise relevant technical solutions to improve healthcare services. Prehospital ICT Arena is an ’open collaboration arena’ aiming for just that.
The first steps in forming Prehospital ICT Arena were taken in 2012 when a number of stakeholders initiated the project Metis with the objective to remove the obstacles that prevent ICT and eHealth from being utilised and developed to its full potential in the prehospital care – an area which involves a host of parties and systems that seldom are optimally coordinated.
”Currently, there’s no common view as to how information, system integration and documentation should be handled to best benefit patient care and organisational needs,” says Bengt Arne Sjöqvist, Project Manager at Lindholmen Science Park and Professor of Practice in Healthcare Informatics at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg.
”Finding a common language and overcoming the technical barriers would not only pave the way for quicker, better and more reliable assessments and treatment in the acute phase, but also greatly improve the possibilities of follow-up and operational development. The great challenge is to find solutions that will work today and also pave the way for continuous improvements in the future,” he adds.
Prehospital ICT Arena is managed by Lindholmen Science Park and run in cooperation with over 30 organisations and stakeholders having an interest in prehospital care. This includes healthcare providers from across Sweden, the Armed Forces Centre for Defence Medicine, hi-tech companies and academy, as well as cooperation organisations like MedTech West and SAFER (Vehicle and Traffic Safety Centre at Chalmers). It is financed by the region of Västra Götaland and by contributions from its stakeholders.
”It’s a new way of collaboration. To successfully implement ICT and eHealth within healthcare it’s necessary that all stakeholders involved take part in the process and join forces,” Bengt Arne Sjöqvist comments.
Ideas Put to the Test
One of the projects in Prehospital ICT Arena is PrehospIT-Stroke. This project focuses on developing and testing open and standardised ways of managing information and communication in order to improve the care process for acute stroke patients – from the emergency call, through ambulance care to care at the right hospital and department.
”The project will, with stroke as an example, demonstrate how ICT supported prehospital care processes including several actors can be improved in many aspects. The task therefore involves finding common concepts and terminology as well as promote technical interoperability between existing systems utilising international and agreed open standards and recommendations. By applying the results to the acute stroke care our aim is to be able to demonstrate a quicker and more effective emergency care for those in need, but also improve follow-up, process development and quality assurance,” tells Bengt Arne Sjöqvist.
PrehospIT-Stroke is run by Lindholmen Science Park and is funded by Vinnova and contributions from the 19 stakeholders engaged in the project. The project is a result of activities within Metis Forum, which is the open meeting place where the Prehospital ICT Arena stakeholders regularly meet to share knowledge and information as well as to identify and define projects that promote the common goal of a more efficient use of ICT and eHealth in prehospital care.
”PrehospIT-Stroke is a fine example of how we invite all parties concerned to take part in our projects. This inviting approach and openness are hallmarks of Prehospital ICT Arena and other open arenas here at Lindholmen Science Park,” Bengt Arne Sjöqvist concludes.