The GPS system is a state-of-the-art piece of technology embedded within our everyday society. The American-owned system is now funded with over $1 billion annually, with other countries developing their own GPS systems to rival America’s. In the early 2000s, GPS systems began to be widely installed in new cars and smartphones like the first iPhone. Today, business models like Uber are entirely reliant on GPS, using trackers as an integral part of their business operations. GPS trackers are also great for personal use, allowing for more secure tracking of possessions like cars and tracking of children or loved ones. It is surprising that it has taken this long for GPS trackers to be used within a medical environment.
GPS Trackers and the health service in India
In India, a few months ago, the state began ordering ambulances to be fitted with GPS trackers. In a few months, over 70% of ambulances in Rajasthan, India, have been fitted with GPS trackers. This is part of a wider movement within India for all new public transport vehicles to be fitted with GPS trackers. The Indian transport commissioner believed this would help those using emergency services to receive quicker and safer transport.
Why track ambulances?
Installing GPS trackers within ambulances is a great way to increase the efficiency of emergency services. Data recorded by GPS trackers can be used to learn how ambulance drivers drive, the routes they take, their speed, and more. This data can be viewed and interpreted by medical staff or hospital management. This data is extremely valuable, particularly in situations of emergencies. Staff can use this data to gain insight into how fast and safely they are reaching those in need. Through this, hospital staff can understand the best routes to take to avoid traffic and which drivers are perhaps driving unsafely in order to reach their destination quicker.
As GPS real-time trackers can be connected to one digital platform, hospital staff can easily oversee their ambulance fleet, quickly spotting any issues or problems. This can also allow staff to be better prepared for ill patients arriving at the hospital. If staff can predict when a patient will arrive, they can prepare beds and be ready to help an ill patient. This could be critical in saving someone's life, as it is not uncommon for patients to have to wait in the ambulance for a free bed. GPS tracking systems can also help locate which ambulance is closest to an emergency and assign the nearby driver to the task at hand. This will help ensure those in need are attended to as quickly as possible.
Installing a GPS tracking system within an ambulance fleet could also help reduce costs. Tracking software can provide detailed reports about mileage, vehicle idling, or aggressive driving behaviours. During non-emergency travel, it is important drivers do not drive carelessly in order to maintain a vehicle’s health. GPS trackers can monitor non-emergency driving to understand driver behaviour. Minimising aggressive driving outside of emergencies will help reduce fuel costs.