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Healthcare / Service redesign

Paramedic response firm seeking partner for manned drone flights

By Andrew Sansom 23 Oct 2020 0

Falck, a Nordic healthcare, rescue and safety services company, has announced its intention to make manned drones an integral part of its fire and emergency medical services.

Before 2025, drones will fly paramedics to attend emergency scenes, says the company. The next phase will be to gain practical experience of how drones may be used in specific situations and to seek amendments to legislation to allow drones to become part of everyday life.

Falck believes the drones will help save and improve lives among critically ill and injured patients. At the same time, the company anticipates that the drones will enable a single paramedic to respond, who can then assess whether an ambulance is needed.

The company is launching its first test flights with unmanned drones and is working on establishing a partnership with a technology partner with whom the company can carry out manned drone flights.

This is one of a number of initiatives on which the company is embarking, which it believes will set the standard for how emergency medical services will be delivered within a decade.

Over the last 10-15 years, Falck has developed sophisticated emergency medical services with customers, with current ambulances performing as an advanced point of treatment, or a rolling clinic. Doctors and paramedics are trained and equipped to initiate the first treatment of critically ill and injured patients in the ambulance.  - Falck

The entire healthcare sector faces fundamental changes in the coming years, owing to challenges in caring for more chronically ill patients and higher demands from citizens, healthcare professionals and decision makers. At the same time, new forms of mobility, such as self-driving cars and drones, are emerging that will bring change to the emergency medical service sector.

How more value can be created from new drone technology is an open question, says Falck. The value may lie in faster response time for patients with cardiac arrest. It may exist in providing an enhanced service for remote areas. It may provide advantages in being able to treat more patients at home or in reducing the number of ambulance trips to save on staff and money.

According to the firm, the emergency response sector is seen as a priority area for the use of drone, with more authorities worldwide expected to allow the flying of drones beyond visual line of sight and the use of manned drones during the next decade.

The company adds that it’s well positioned to test and evaluate new technologies on a large scale but that it requires global partnerships and implementation across national markets.

Organisations involved