Redesigning the Ambulance: Improving mobile emergency healthcare

The interior of the emergency ambulance is difficult to clean and difficult to stock  –  and problematic for paramedics in terms of providing better patient care.

This project set out to make the treatment space of the emergency ambulance fit for 21st century healthcare. Building on six years of research at the RCA, the study began with the designers joining ambulance crews on callouts during 12-hour shifts. Key insights were translated into sketch designs; a full-scale test rig was mocked up in cardboard and foam. Front line paramedics, clinicians, patients, academic researchers, engineers and designers then worked together in a co-design process to develop and evaluate proposals, resulting in a full-size mobile demonstrator of the new interior.

The new ambulance reconfigures and redesigns the layout of the patient treatment space. There is 360° access to the patient, which not only improves clinical efficiency but also enhances patient safety. The new interior is designed to be easy to clean. Equipment packs containing specific treatment consumables aid clinical performance, infection control and stock control. A new digital diagnostics and communications system is also presented.

Download Redesigning the Emergency Ambulance pdf (2.9MB)

More on the first year here

Research Associate 2011:
Gianpaolo Fusari
RCA Department:
Vehicle Design and Innovation Design Engineering
Research Partner:
NHS London