Electric vehicles are gaining ground in Norwegian municipal home care units. Recent advances in Smart City health technology give municipalities a real-time overview of the location of each vehicle and the ability to route the nearest nurse to a patient in need. Displacing fossil fuels with electricity, however, places new demands on fleet management, charging infrastructure and optimal charging times.
Here is a typical home care unit scenario:
It’s half past ten, a cold December night in Norway. Ten minutes ago, Lisa, a nurse in the home care unit, left elderly Mrs. Hansen's house. She is now on her way to the next patient on her list, Mr. Olsen. As she is about to turn into his driveway, her phone rings. She stops the car. It’s Silje, the duty nurse. Silje has received a call from the emergency center. Mrs. Hansen's alarm has just been set off, they cannot reach her by phone and, since she is on Lisa's list, she must drive back and check on her. Lisa turns around in the neighbor's driveway and heads back in the direction she came from.
Lisa does her job happily, of course, without giving it a second thought, although it means overtime for an already tired body. Call-outs like this happen now and then, whether they are triggered by alarms or by users who call in asking for help to use the toilet. On the municipality's side of things, it means thousands of extra miles per year. Maintaining preparedness with sufficiently charged EVs and optimal driving routes is equally important as ensuring sound financial operation.
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Thanks to smart health technology we can rewrite Lisa's story, even the bigger story about home care in Norway:
It’s half past ten, a cold December night in Norway. Ten minutes ago, Lisa, a nurse in the home car unit, left old Mrs. Hansen's house. She is now on her way to the next patient on her list, Mr. Olsen. As she turns into his driveway, she sees something in the snow. It’s Mr. Olsen. He probably slipped and fell when taking out the garbage. Fortunately, he’s in good shape, just a bit cold, so Lisa aids him back inside the warm house. Meanwhile, duty nurse Silje receives a call from the emergency center. Mrs. Hansen's alarm has just been set off, and they cannot reach her by phone. Silje shoots a glance at the interactive map which shows the location of each nurse's vehicle and finds that Mona is only a two-minute drive away from Mrs. Hansen's house. Seconds later she has Mona on the line, and two minutes later, Mona walks in the front door of Mrs. Hansen's house to find her fit as a fiddle. Fortunately, it was a false alarm.
Routing the nearest nurse to emergency call-outs is only one of many important opportunities with smart health technology. As the short story illustrates, it has great potential impact both financially and for preparedness , not to mention the environment. A reduction in mileage means reduced emissions, especially if a car fleet consists of fossil-fuel cars.