Ordnance survey mapping underpins new mobile data system for ambulances

A mobile data system capable of delivering “the most up-to-date and detailed mapping of Britain’s rural and urban areas including highly accurate road and addressing information”, is being rolled out across Yorkshire Ambulance Service in the hopes of improving at-scene response times and ultimately patient care, with a nationwide roll-out to follow.

Funding from the National Mobilisation Application has come from the Ambulance Radio Programme, established to deliver technological system improvements for ambulance trusts, the NHS and other emergency responders. The Department of Health and Social Care, one of the establishing bodies behind the programme, has contracted supplier of ICT and mobile data systems Terrafix to build the application using a license which enabled Terrafix to integrate ordnance survey (OS) addressing, roads and mapping products.

As a result, NHS services will be able to use the “same and most authoritative addressing and mapping data” in the country. In addition, mapping updates can be streamed to the ambulances using in-cab technology with “designated Wi-Fi hubs at key operational sites”, which means that ambulances no longer need to be taken off the road to manually upload data.

A pilot is currently underway with Yorkshire Ambulance Service rolling the service out across its fleet of 650 ambulances and rapid response vehicles, with YAS chief information officer Simon Marsh commenting that having accurate and up-to-date mapping can “make all the difference to our patient care and response times through improved navigation.”

On the plans for a nationwide roll-out, Ambulance Radio Programme director Duncan Bray states: “Ultimately, we want to have a national solution that supports all ambulance services to respond to emergencies in a quick, safe and efficient way. Accurate mapping is crucial and providing access to the latest data will deliver huge benefits to everyone.”

Chris Green, managing director of Terrafix, adds: “After researching all possible mapping products, it was clear that the OS Mapping was by far the best choice to use. The mapping underpins the National Mobilisation Application’s functionality. With accurate data and regular updates, the feature-rich mapping facility will provide ambulance crews with the best possible methods of routing and navigation.”

In other news relating to improving ambulance care, earlier this month we highlighted how the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust has opened an opportunity to procure a digital education management system, with the aim of improving the tracking, reporting and development of their clinical workforce.

Earlier in the year, we shared how Lincolnshire ICB has launched an app to share live urgent and emergency care waiting times to help people make informed decisions about where to seek treatment.