In addition, a patient’s health records and recent health condition—especially if the patient uses a wearable fitness device—could be accessed, as well as video from the scene, McGinnis said.

“We’ve run tests with this type of concept, and the time it takes a paramedic to go from the ambulance to the car and acquire [the patient’s information] and fill all four of those databases is—on average—60 seconds, with 90 seconds being the outlier,” McGinnis said.

“That means that in 60 to 90 seconds—not 6 to 10 minutes—every responder in the hospital and in the trauma center who is authorized can have access to what’s going on at that scene as they either go there or wait for things to unfold. Think about what that does for situational awareness and the common operating picture.”

Such technology also can help avoid unnecessary operational expenses that tend to occur when EMS personnel are forced to make immediate decisions without a patient’s full medical information and without the benefit of expert medical advice, McGinnis said.

“They err on the side of caution every time,” McGinnis said. [Paramedics say,] ‘We better call the helicopter, and we better get them to the trauma center.’ We do that, and [patients] go to the trauma center, and they walk out two hours later with clean bill of health and a $30,000, $40,000 or $50,000 bill for the helicopter to the trauma center.”

With the right tools and dependable broadband connectivity from FirstNet enabling real-time communications, data exchanges and video of the patient, valuable resources can be used more efficiently, McGinnis said.

“Wouldn’t it be great if, instead, that provider does not need to be particularly experienced to [use a] portable ultrasound device?,” he said. “They just need to know how to operate the wand and run it over the patient’s body, with a doctor on telemedicine telling them what to do, interpreting that image and being able to say, ‘We see no evidence of bleeding. We think we can take that patient for a work up at the local hospital’ and save them that [helicopter-transport] money.”

Finally, in cases when speed is most important, there is a possibility of dispatching remote-controlled drones to provide medical assistance, McGinnis said. A video depicted an emergency call regarding a patient with heart stoppage, and the emergency caller was instructed to pick up a drone that was flown to a nearby door in the building, and a medical adviser—speaking through the drone—told the emergency caller how to apply defibrillator pads properly, so the patient could be shocked back to health.

Such technologies are just some applications that the EMS community will use “as it goes from being a lights-and-sirens response entity that you’re familiar with to really being a new healthcare provider in your community,” McGinnis said. “EMS has gone from being essentially a horizontal taxicab service in the pre-‘70s to becoming a real life-saving thing itself.”