Choosing the Right Device for Field Use
Recorded December 12, 2018 – see more resources below video.
Any opinions expressed in this webcast are the opinions of the presenter and do not represent the opinion of Hanover County or ImageTrend.
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Webinar Slides (32 pages)
These slides match the content presented during the webinar. This is an abridged version of the original presentation at ImageTrend Connect 2018, edited to fit the 30 minute webinar format.
Questions and Answers from the Live Webcast
Due to time constraints, we were unable to answer questions during the webcast. Below are the questions that were asked and answers provided by Spenser and Conger. Any opinions expressed in these questions and answers are the opinions of their author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of Hanover County, ImageTrend or its representatives.
Is there any chance that you can set up a direct Bluetooth to Chromebook upload?
If you are referring to uploading vitals from a LIFEPAK, our understanding is this is not possible. We researched with Physio quite a bit as we were concerned over the price of the LIFEPAK 15 modems required to send vitals direct to the cloud. Physio had no plans to allow sending information over Bluetooth to anything other than their Windows-based app. We ended up purchasing modems with a grant that was originally meant for a different LIFEPAK 15 upgrade.
The iPads and some Androids cannot do repeat patient searches without being connected to the internet- at least in our experience. Can you comment on the repeat patient search on iPad if you have positive experience with that?
Currently we have our ImageTrend Elite settings to not allow offline searches but we didn’t seem to have issues in testing. I am not aware of other organizations having issues with this specific feature on their iPads. I do know one of our regional partners originally ordered 16 GB iPads and found they were running into storage issues they suspected were related to the browsers running out of cache space. It is also worth noting after doing several EMS calls, the iPad may prompt to allow Safari more access to storage for browser cache. I am not sure if this is related to the issue you encountered.
What device did you use prior to iPads?
We used Panasonic FZ-G1’s.
What CAD vendor do you use?
A version of OneSolution, formerly Superion/Sunguard OSSI.
How did you mitigate the problem of losing access to CAD info?
Our operations personnel had historically been using Active911 for basic CAD information and routing on station level equipment or BYOD. We have since rolled it out onto all iPads. This prevents our Battalions from essentially only needing one device in their day to day operations in their vehicle. Active911 is a useful bridge for organizations in our situation but it is not a replacement for a true mobile-friendly CAD interface and it utilizes Google Maps which we do not believe is a replacement for well-maintained GIS based navigation. We are in the process of improving both these functionalities. CAD integration with ImageTrend remains unaffected and works fine, of course.
What hardware are you using with your iPads?
Case for Operations: NewTrent Gladius
- Pros: Affordable, ergonomic, durable, has kickstand.
- Cons: Hand strap not super decon friendly, Removing the plastic screen cover and adding a glass screen protector makes thing snug but it works
Screen Protector: AmFilm Tempered Glass
- Pros: Affordable, no hassle free warranty replacement
- Cons: None, they’ve been great to deal with. Important because you’ll be replacing them often.
Keyboards: A few similar modular inexpensive Bluetooth keyboards. We opted for these for costs savings as integrated keyboard cases have a myriad of issues and we haven’t found one we were confident in during our testing. Pros are these keyboards despite being disposable have been fairly durable. Cons are somewhat awkward ergonomics. We tried to encourage providers to use the on screen keyboard but many still prefer physical.
Vehicle Docks: RAM Mounts various, Locking Tablet Holders, 1.5” Ball mount hardware
- Pros: Modular, affordable, no complaints in field
- Cons: If you have a variety of apparatus models like us you will need to get creative, thoroughly test fit a variety of test parts, and really pay close attention to the parts you order.
Chargers & Cables: Anker
- Pros: Durable, many have warranties
- Cons: Not the cheapest option but you get what you pay for here. Quality chargers and cables also enhance safety.
Do you use Apple management software? What vendor do you use?
We have all of our iPads enrolled via Device Enrollment Program (DEP) with Apple Business Manager. The Mobile Device Manager (MDM) vendor we use is Jamf. Capabilities from one MDM to the other do not vary much as they operate within the strict confines of what Apple allows. Our selection mostly came down to price, support, and user interface.
Do your personnel use email or any other applications on the iPad that require unique logins?
For our operations division, we only have a handful of strictly whitelisted websites that we allow personnel to log into. Most notable of course is ImageTrend, but we also have sites we use for rostering, training records, incident reporting, work orders, etc. iPads on our apparatus fleet do not have any true applications that offer personal storage or email access. Devices that are assigned to specific individuals are more lax.
How do the crews clean/decon the iPads?
Commercial cleaning wipes like the alcohol and bleach wipes frequent in EMS service. We ask that personnel contact us if there is ever an exposure severe enough to warrant removing the case or hand strap as we’d rather just dispose of the case in that situation.
With the iOS, how do you mitigate the updates and required passcode setups each time?
iOS updates are admittedly a tricky part of iOS management as, short of blocking them with a VPN setup, you can’t do much to stop them. We ask that crews not update until we have tested the latest versions. So far we haven’t run into any issues with updates preventing crews from completing their work. That said, we have had to go onsite on occasion to update some iPads. We should soon have enough iPads on our second out apparatus that they can be used as a spare in case a call comes out during an update or if an update hangs.
For passcode setups, all of our iPads are enrolled by into Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP) by default from our reseller. Once they connect to Apple’s activation server they immediately configure to whatever role they’ve been assigned. As part of our settings they require the user to set a passcode within a set timeframe. If it is a device assigned to a person we allow them to choose their passcode and utilize touch ID. If it is an operations passcode admins set the passcode and then remove the ability for the end user to change it.
Did you find that you needed to have an external keyboard with your setup?
A significant enough percentage of our operations personnel had strong demand for a physical keyboard for transport units, especially for writing the narratives. We provide unattached inexpensive Bluetooth keyboards for this purpose. We have not adopted integrated keyboard cases as we haven’t found one we think is appropriate for field use. Our non-transport units are not provided with keyboards, though it is worth noting many personnel on fire apparatus still prefer doing fire reports out and about without a keyboard as opposed to returning to the station to do them on a computer. We did, however, put out a survey where many providers said they did not like the absence of keyboard, but that they could get by without it if needed.
When you say Windows device, are you comparing a Windows laptop or Windows tablet to the iPads?
Both. We are primarily comparing them to our old Panasonic FZ-G1’s (which were used with attached keyboards) and the newer 2-1 Detachable CF-20’s. We also compared functionality from Getac, and Dell.
What apps are you mainly using, and for what?
- Two basic apps for weather.
- Three mapping apps (Google Maps, Apple Maps, State supplied DOT app)
- Two rescue reference apps (CMC, RescueCode)
- Two hazmat apps. (ERG2016, WISER)
- A calculator app.
- iBooks (Quick reference department documents)
- Our region’s EMS Protocol App
- Our department’s work order app
- Damage Assessment App (CrisisTrack)
- Currently Integrating ESRI GIS apps
- Active 911
- Notes App
- ImageTrend Elite Utilities
Tell me more!
Learn more about ImageTrend’s solutions – designed for use on a variety of devices including iPad, Android and Windows tablets.