Texas Tech U pilot to connect EMS, trauma units via telehealth

The Lubbock-based Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, the Texas Commission on State Emergency Communications and telemedicine solutions provider swyMed joined forces to improve rural healthcare, swyMed officials announced Oct. 24.

Under the pilot project, swyMed will link 10 ambulances to local trauma centers and the University Medical Center in Lubbock using video telemedicine equipment. The project, funded by Texas House Bill 479, aims to improve outcomes of trauma, cardiac and stroke patients in rural areas that lack access to nearby specialty care. Through video consultations, trauma specialists are able to help emergency medical services providers triage and care for patients.

To address inadequate internet quality in rural West Texas, the research collaborators will use LTE and 4G cellular signal from Verizon and AT&T. SwyMed also leverages low bandwidth, high-gain antennas and data transport protocols in its telemedicine equipment to maintain connectivity.

"Telemedicine technology for emergency management situations, and particularly in rural geographies, requires specialized tools with the flexibility to find and make the most of the available carrier signals," said Stefano Migliorisi, CEO of swyMed.

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