In the US, the EMS Agenda 2050 is trying to shape what emergency medical services (EMS) will be like in the second half of the century. Guided by technical experts consisting of EMS directors, professors of emergency medicine and fire chiefs, it is supported by various federal institutions. MedicalExpo e-magazine spoke with panel facilitator Mike Taigman about how autonomous vehicles, precision medicine and artificial intelligence will change EMS.
MedicalExpo e-magazine: What is the EMS Agenda 2050?
Mike Taigman: The Agenda 2050 is radically inclusive. Every person involved in EMS in the US can be involved, through every channel—regional meetings, Facebook, Twitter, etc. We are also supported by four federal institutions. This is a US-only project. I’m not aware of similar projects dedicated to EMS in other areas of the world.
MedicalExpo e-magazine: Let’s start with autonomous vehicles. How will self-driving ambulances impact EMS ?
Mike Taigman: Autonomous vehicles should increase safety significantly and reduce the number of accidents. The same will be true for self-driving ambulances. They will be able to move faster, which is key for EMS. At the same time, there may be less call for them. The most time-critical interventions are chest compression and defibrillator use. These interventions are moving away from EMS and into the community. And there’s no need for an ambulance when you’ve got a defibrillator nearby. You also need to think of drones and how quickly they could deploy such devices.
Mike Taigman: I can envision a time when your genetic profile will be available with your medical profile and records. With both genetics and an accurate description of your symptoms, a machine might be able to deliver customized treatments.
MedicalExpo e-magazine: How will artificial intelligence change EMS?
Mike Taigman: I remember attending a congress a few years ago where there was a competition between physicians and automated systems concerning abdominal pain assessment. Artificial intelligence is going to completely change the roles. In the future, a patient will plug directly into a panel of experts and explain that he has diabetes, chest pain and is in his seventies. At this stage, the system could connect him directly to an artificial intelligence system. The paramedic would turn into a data acquirer who choreographs diagnosis from a panel of physicians assisted by AI. And the patient would be included in the choice of treatment.
MedicalExpo e-magazine: Robotic helpers like the daVinci are gaining traction in operating rooms. Will they make their way into ambulances?
Mike Taigman: I’m not sure about robotic helpers. Such machines are very large and wouldn’t tolerate bouncing around. That said, some response units are provided with robot-assisted cardiac bypass systems.
MedicalExpo e-magazine: When can we expect to see the EMS Agenda 2050?
Mike Taigman: The whole process is intended to move pretty fast. The preliminary draft will appear in April 2018, with a final EMS Agenda 2050 in August 2018.