Mapping agency now seeks funds for development of technology to support community first responders
Ordnance Survey (OS) is pitching for funding for the development and maintenance of an app designed to support community first responders (CFRs), the national network of volunteers who provide basic life support to patients in advance of an ambulance arriving.
It has reported the success of a pilot project, which ran over eight weeks during the summer, claiming the app was used on 270 occasions and in three cases led to patients’ lives being saved by cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
An OS spokesperson told UKAuthority that it initially needs £30,000-50,000 per year for the maintenance of the database that supports the app and to lay the ground for a wider roll out.
The absence of any national coordinating body for CFRs makes it difficult to pitch directly to a users’ organisation, and it is looking to others, most probably within the NHS, to provide the support.
He said the app, which is based on the OS Maps application, provides more detail than the internet maps that are generally used by CFRs and helps them find patients in locations that may not otherwise be identifiable online.
“We’ve created the right APIs and have an address database,” he said. “It helps CFRs who have often struggled to know where to find a patient when going down a country lane or in a remote area.”
The data is available at no cost to CFRs under the Public Sector Mapping Agreement, and can be accessed through two new application programme interfaces, OS Routes API and OS Places. CFRs can copy and paste or type into the app’s search bar and are then presented with a map that shows the precise location, which can also be routed from their own position.
John Kimmance, Ordnance Survey director of public sector, said: “The trial has ended and we are now seeking the funds to take this forward. Feedback from CFRs has identified a number of ways we can improve on what we have done.”
Mark Norbury, National Ambulance Resilience Unit coordinator, said: “There are three people alive today who might well not have been but for the prototype OS created.
“In two-thirds of cases where the pilot software was used it speeded up the CFR’s response to the patient’s side. Whilst it is difficult to identify exactly whether the earlier arrival of a CFR improved a patient’s outcome, it was clear in two-thirds of the cases reviewed that the CFR got to patient quicker with less stress because of the ease of finding their patient’s house.
“CFRs appear to be getting more and more calls in wider areas than historically and the pilot scheme enabled them to respond with confidence in finding their patient. Finding named houses, especially in the dark, is an absolute life saver.”
Image from Ordnance Survey