The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) despatches rapid medical assistance or clinical advice to over five million people across Scotland, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
As a digital-first organisation, SAS uses its digital devices — instead of traditional pen and paper — for a wide range of logistical and clinical tasks, from vehicle navigation to on-scene patient data collection.
In order to respond effectively, the Service needs highly reliable and resilient devices that can withstand the challenging environments ambulance crews encounter on a daily basis.
“All of our devices are configured for use at the point of care, meaning they are regularly operated both inside and outside our vehicles,” says Roslyn Scott, Head of ICT Development & Training at SAS.
“As such, they have to be operable in all weather conditions and temperatures – which regularly go as low as -15°C in the Highlands – as well as in dirty and potentially hazardous locations.”
SAS’s devices are shared across a large number of users, meaning they must undergo regular, rigorous anti-infection procedures.
The nature of emergency response also makes the use of peripheral equipment like a keyboard and a mouse impractical, so devices need to be self-contained, well designed, and intuitive to use.
Following a rigorous procurement process, SAS selected Getac’s T800 fully rugged tablet as part of an overall mobile data solution supplied by Terrafix Ltd, a Getac reseller.
Built rugged from the ground up to thrive in the toughest working conditions, the T800 offers the ideal combination of functionality, connectivity, and mobility, meaning ambulance crews can take it wherever they need to go.
A powerful quad-core Intel® Atom™ processor and 4G LTE, Wi-Fi & GPS connectivity options enable data to be gathered and transmitted straight from the scene, while up to 10 hours battery life on a single charge offers full-shift reliability.
Elsewhere, an 8.1-inch sunlight-readable display — 34 percent larger screen area than a typical 7-inch tablet — allows first responders to perform crucial tasks under pressure quickly.
Like all Getac devices, the T800 was engineered to protect against drops, shocks, spills, vibration, dust, liquid and more.
Certified to MIL-STD 810G and IP65 standards, it remains fully operational in temperatures ranging from -21°C to +50°C and is drop resistant up to six feet.
Furthermore, for vehicle deployments, the T800 can be configured with tri-pass-through antenna ports allowing SAS to simultaneously connect high-gain GPS, WWAN and WLAN roof-mounted antennas. Havis docking stations are also used to keep devices secure and fully charged when inside the vehicles.
Getac’s T800 is now the primary digital device in use across SAS’s entire fleet of 550 A&E vehicles.
Most vehicles are equipped with two devices.
One is installed in the driver’s cabin, where it’s predominantly used for callout allocation and mobilisation to incidents.
The other is installed in the back of the vehicle and used for recording patient information and accessing clinical support information while on-scene.
The T800’s inherently rugged design also means SAS do not need to invest in any secondary products to protect its tablets while in the field or during rigorous cleaning and disinfecting processes.
In fact, since the installation of the T800 five years ago, there have been minimal reports of device breakages or screen damage leading to unexpected downtime.
As a result of this highly positive experience to date, SAS is now in the process of extending the use of the Getac T800 to its patient transport fleet consisting of over 450 vehicles.
“Our ambulance crews regularly operate in difficult conditions, and in these situations, the last thing they want to worry about is their device,” says Roslyn.
“Getac’s T800 enables them to work efficiently in wet and freezing temperatures and during the heat of summer, making it a crucial component of our response strategy both now and in the future.”