It is no secret that technology has made great advances in all aspects of our lives. From shopping and business, to government and news broadcasts, through technology, our lives have become much more complicated yet intriguing. And technological advances in education and healthcare have influenced years of development in saving the lives of those in emergency situations.

From Horses to Horsepower

The ambulance dates back hundreds of years ago before World War II. As long as there have been human beings walking this earth, the need for emergency services has always been prevalent. But with limited resources, a truly modern and effective way of providing emergency services and transportation to patients didn’t emerge until the rise of the modern ambulance post World War II. In fact, years ago, ambulances were nothing more than a horse drawn carriage with a bed in the back for the sick patient. The emergence from the horse drawn carriage to the over 5,000 pound, 300 horse power, lights flashing and sirens blaring beast that we all quickly clear the streets for can be credited to the fast growing technology that is revolutionizing our lives at a rapid speed. But the vehicle alone is not the only aspect of emergency services that has improved over time.

Life-Saving Strides

The list of bare minimum essentials needed to stock an ambulance these days consists of over seventy items. And while this list continues to grow, emergency responders find themselves capable of providing more lifesaving tactics while transporting patients to the hospital.  Where years ago, supplies were limited, there aren’t many limits to the procedures that can be performed in the back of an ambulance to save a person’s life. EMTs and Paramedics can actually place IVs, administer medication, even place a patient on advanced life support and perform more advanced airway procedures-all from the back of an ambulance. And in many cases this could be the difference between life and death as a patient is transported to the right facility.

Money, Money, Money

With an increase in services and capabilities, emergency medical services come with an increase in cost as well. But many patients don’t understand how much money goes into purchasing, stocking, and maintaining an ambulance when they see that expensive bill come through the mail. The average cost of purchasing an ambulance and the gasoline needed to operate on a daily basis alone is over 120,000 dollars. Add equipment, supplies, and personnel costs to that, and municipalities and businesses are spending over 300,000 dollars for ambulance services. So while a trip to the hospital can cost patients anywhere from 300-2000 dollars or more, it actually is a small fee compared to the cost of operating our ride to safety. Because it isn’t just the cost of the ride that goes into crunching numbers when calculating costs for ambulance rides to patients. It is personnel, supplies, and equipment used that all goes into that hefty bill. And while some insurances cover the cost of your ambulance ride, most emergency service providers are willing to work with you to pay your bill. I think we can all agree that saving your life is a priceless service.

One can only imagine how advances in technology will continue to positively affect the world of emergency medical service. As healthcare services continue to improve, boards and committees are formed and looked to for advice of what ambulance services can improve on in the future. Among the top suggestions are side entry doors, better visibility, and specialized units to respond to chronically ill patients. The sky is the limit as technology advances and lucky for those of us living in the modern age, we benefit medically from the improvements to emergency responding units as technology allows them to advance.