Florida EMS to transmit EKG readings from ambulances

A Florida emergency medical service soon will be able to transmit EKG readings from ambulances to hospital emergency departments, ideally cutting "door-to-balloon time" for patients experiencing heart attacks by as much as 30 minutes. Brevard County Fire-Rescue is equipping at least 93 EMS units, including 40 ambulances, with Bluetooth technology and mobile modems to send EKG results directly to cardiologists and trauma surgeons at hospitals in the county. Seven municipal fire departments also will benefit from the $155,000 investment, paid for by the Florida Department of Health, Florida Today reports.

A similar program in Osceola County, Fla., that started about a year ago has reduced the time from door to cath lab by about half. "The doctors can read the ECG instantly and are better prepared for the patients, and it means a better outcome for the patients," Osceola County EMS chief Jeff Garringer told the newspaper.

To learn more about this system:
- check out this Florida Today story