An interesting story today – the Fire Brigade in Fife are trying out a new system at accident. They’re taking photos with picture messaging cell phones of incidents like car crashes and sending them directly to the local Accident and Emergency or A&E – E.R. to our US cousins – which is prepped to receive the casualties. The idea is that the A&E team will have a better idea of what injuries to prepare for before even the paramedics arrive. They can also offer advice to emergency teams on site.
It is nice to see information technology being used in a positive way. When I was a young, full-haired lad at college in the early 90s George McMurdo, one of our IT lecturers, used to get quite excited discussing potential uses of IT for the future, especially virtual systems and the internet (not the web at that stage). One of the potential uses was to equip paramedics with a video system which transmitted details back to the A&E of a crash site. The idea was that an expert doctor could then have a virtual presence, advising the paramedic without leaving the hospital as well as being better prepared for the incoming casualties. Similar virtual presence systems have been tried for remote rural communities too. See, it’s not all about sending dirty text messages when you’re drunk or browsing the web for naughty pictures of celebrities. Although those things are all fun too.