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The Hybrid Connex ‘Digital Ambulance of the Future’ project is a joint NHS and commercial technology initiative that uniquely combines 4G, 5G and satellite connections, ensuring that vehicle crews wherever their location will always be online with a high-speed connection.
NHS Ambulance Trusts throughout the UK were invited to work with NHS Arden & GEM CSU, and its technology partners, to help shape 'Hybrid Connex' - a project which will enable a whole range of applications to work together, significantly improving patient experiences and transforming the way ambulance services deliver ‘see and treat’ care.
We want to create the blueprint for the first fully connected digital ambulance that will be a game changer in the way ambulance services provide the majority of care to patients. Hybrid Connex has the ability to provide a whole range of new on-the-spot services such as diagnostics and enabling specialists located remotely to treat patients at the scene, thus significantly reducing unnecessary conveyance to emergency departments.
Government supported fully funded trials
This two year project has successfully been awarded €5.7m of funding from the European Space Agency (ESA), which will enable us to work with Ambulance Trusts to understand their challenges, explore technological solutions and fully fund a series of trials to demonstrate its operational and financial benefits.
Hybrid Connex - early feedback from the trial with East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust
In the early stages of the pilot, Hybrid Connex has already shown the Trust the benefit of a faster and more stable connection to digital systems even when their vehicle is on the move. Enabling in some cases the connection to extend into a patients home with the ability to WiFi call in low and no cellular connectivity areas. In addition, during these first few weeks this technology has proven to support the non-conveyance of patients.
Stephen Bromhall EEAST CDIO
"The technology so far has proven that we can provide better clinical technology to the front line and our patients, improving patient care."
Phil Elvidge EPCR Clinical Lead (Paramedic)
"As we move forward with the integration of digital technology to ambulance front line care, we have access to more information about our patients than ever before, but we need to be connected. Paramedics need to know they can always have the same information available no matter where they attend to their patients."
Hybrid Connex utilises bonded cellular technology along with low level satellite communication to provide an always on WiFi bubble around the ambulance. Allowing staff to connect to digital systems such as spine connected services 100% of the time, giving them access to the patients history and identify alternative care pathways, to make the right decision for the patient and provide the best possible outcome. This is not a replacement for ESN but a tangential technology to further support clinical connectivity.
Hybrid Connex speaker panel at The Emergency Services Show 2023, Birmingham:
L-R: Tristan Wood, Managing Director - Livewire; Stephen Bromhall, Chief Digital Information Officer and Phil Elvidge, ePCR Clinical Lead and Paramedic - East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust; Monica France (Chair), Programme Manager Digital Transformation - NHS Arden & GEM CSU; Simon Hill, Chief Technical Officer & Director - Excelerate.
"Hybrid Connex is a particularly interesting research and development programme that is working to develop improved digital capability for ambulance services by looking at the next generation of connectivity.
We believe this complements and mirrors the aims of the NHS Ambulance Radio Programme (ARP) in the provision of modern communications platforms for the ambulance and wider health sector, which will enable the use of technology advances in patient care.
To this end, ARP has begun developing an open dialogue with the Hybrid Connex programme, particularly around ensuring that input from end-users across the ambulance sector is central to the development of the next generation of connectivity solutions in the future. This will also assist and inform the next generation of products to be delivered by ARP.
ARP does not view Hybrid Connex as an alternative to the current ARP Products or the Emergency Services Network, nor is it a competitor solution. It is about a broad range of key stakeholders working collaboratively together today to inform the successful development of future connectivity requirements for ambulance services tomorrow.
We hope these research and development collaborations will provide ambulance services with the powerful connectivity platform they need to build on, so they can create the digital healthcare applications of the future that will genuinely transform patient care."
NHS Ambulance Radio Programme