Automated personnel-assets-consumables-drug tracking in ambulance services for more effective and efficient medical emergency interventions

UTKU S., ÖZCANHAN M. H., Unluturk M. S.

COMPUTER METHODS AND PROGRAMS IN BIOMEDICINE, vol.127, pp.216-231, 2016 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 127
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.cmpb.2015.12.019
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.216-231
  • Keywords: Ambulance, Bluetooth low energy, Medical emergency interventions, Health services, Near field communication (NFC), RFID, HANDOVER, SYSTEM, COMMUNICATION, ARCHITECTURE
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Patient delivery time is no longer considered as the only critical factor, in ambulatory services. Presently, five clinical performance indicators are used to decide patient satisfaction. Unfortunately, the emergency ambulance services in rapidly growing metropolitan areas do not meet current satisfaction expectations; because of human errors in the management of the objects onboard the ambulances. But, human involvement in the information management of emergency interventions can be reduced by electronic tracking of personnel, assets, consumables and drugs (PACD) carried in the ambulances. Electronic tracking needs the support of automation software, which should be integrated to the overall hospital information system. Our work presents a complete solution based on a centralized database supported by radio frequency identification (RFID) and bluetooth low energy (BLE) identification and tracking technologies. Each object in an ambulance is identified and tracked by the best suited technology. The automated identification and tracking reduces manual paper documentation and frees the personnel to better focus on medical activities. The presence and amounts of the PACD are automatically monitored, warning about their depletion, non-presence or maintenance dates. The computerized two way hospital-ambulance communication link provides information sharing and instantaneous feedback for better and faster diagnosis decisions. A fully implemented system is presented, with detailed hardware and software descriptions. The benefits and the clinical outcomes of the proposed system are discussed, which lead to improved personnel efficiency and more effective interventions. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.