By Doug Clark
Effective communication is paramount for hospitals and ambulance services providers. In a high-pressure and time-sensitive environment, clear and timely communication can literally be a matter of life and death. In hospitals, effective communication ensures that nursing teams, doctors and support staff can collaborate seamlessly, resulting in improved patient care and enhanced overall efficiency. Similarly, for ambulance organizations, clear communication is critical for dispatching emergency vehicles and coordinating with hospital staff. Whether it’s relaying important updates, coordinating resources, or requesting assistance, effective communication ensures that everyone involved is on the same page, minimizing errors and maximizing the chances of positive patient outcomes.
For these industries, a coverage gap or limited service in their communications network can have extreme consequences. Ambulance organizations use dispatch communications for their mission critical communications, so ensuring ambulance workers can hear and respond to their dispatcher is paramount when they are on the way to the scene, while they are caring for the patient at the scene, and during patient transport. In hospitals, staff members must efficiently communicate issues and concerns regarding patient care, equipment failures, or emergencies, allowing for prompt responses and swift action.
Hospitals and ambulance organizations across the United States are transitioning from their legacy Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks to the FirstNet nationwide cellular network, and its Mission Critical Push-to-Talk (MCPTT) over Cellular hardware. For many decades, first responders and organizations have relied on LMR radios as their go-to communication solution. However, these handheld portable radios have been known for their bulkiness, size, and high cost, which make them inconvenient for everyday usage. Carrying around bulky and heavy radios while already burdened with other patient care equipment is far from ideal, especially when quick and efficient communication is crucial during emergency situations.
When faced with life-or-death situations, having reliable communication becomes an essential lifeline that cannot be compromised. The FirstNet nationwide cellular network offers more consistent coverage with fewer gaps compared to LMR radio networks. While some big EMS ambulance organizations may own their own expensive private LMR radio networks, mid-sized and smaller organizations can opt to pay an LMR dealer a monthly fee per radio to use their network, which offers coverage in most areas of a single city, albeit with some inconsistent coverage gaps. As such, the biggest drivers for the transition away from LMR radios for hospitals and ambulance organizations are network coverage, and cost of ownership.
As a global developer and vendor of MCPTT over Cellular handsets and accessories, Siyata Mobile is committed to offering reliable communication for industries that heavily rely on mission critical communication. At the forefront of Siyata’s efforts is their SD7 mission critical PTT handset, which stands out due to its unique design and functionality. Unlike traditional smartphones, the SD7 handset is specifically designed to replace the functionality of two-way radios and meet the communication needs of EMTs, ambulances and hospital workers. The SD7 handset leverages FirstNet’s nationwide cellular network suited for the healthcare industry, thereby enabling reliable mission critical communications. Because of its affordability, Siyata empowers medical professionals and emergency response agencies to equip more staff members with reliable and easy-to-use SD7 handsets, ultimately enhancing response capabilities during emergency situations such as medical emergencies and disasters.
Siyata’s PTT hardware is already being adopted in hospitals, where nursing stations use the SD7 handset to coordinate communications between nursing teams. The lightweight, compact and easy-to-use features of the SD7 handset make it a popular choice among hospital staff compared to most LMR portable radios, which can be heavier and bulkier. For EMS ambulance organizations, the Siyata SD7 handset and VK7 Vehicle Kit are commonly used together. The VK7 Vehicle Kit is installed in ambulances. The SD7 handset slides into the VK7 Vehicle Kit for an optimal and safe mission critical PTT experience while in transit. With the SD7 handset’s battery charging while it is inside the VK7 Vehicle Kit, ambulance staff can easily eject the SD7 handset from the VK7 Vehicle Kit when they arrive at their destination.
According to the 2020 National EMS Assessment released by the National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Officials (NASEMSO), there are over 18,200 local EMS agencies in the U.S., utilizing nearly 73,500 ground vehicles such as ambulances and fire engines, responding to nearly 28.5 million 911 dispatches every year in 41 states. Additionally, over one million personnel across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and American Samoa are licensed as EMTs and paramedics. More than 750 services are licensed to fly patients using helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to provide rapid transportation to critical care. Such widespread usage of EMS services emphasizes the need for efficient and reliable communication hardware, making PTT over Cellular a popular choice to ensure that every medical emergency is rapidly and effectively addressed.