The impact of COVID-19 on EMS


Since the covid-19 outbreak, all around the world countries have done everything in their power to contain it. Meanwhile, it has had first impacts on the perception of healthcare and EMS.

A united European healthcare system in times of COVID-19

On the grand scale, the Europe Day Conference on the Future of Europe will have to be adapted in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to numerous institutional discussions, it is to be expected that new topics will be featured on the conference agenda. Next to management of climate change, social justice and the digital transformation as political priorities, the introduction of a European healthcare system is also likely to move into focus. First agenda points can be read here:

EMS personnel are getting more recognition than usual

Though sick people have always needed someone to help get them to medical attention, many modern EMS fields were neglected for a long time. As an example, until the mid-1960s in the United States, many first responders were funeral home workers doing double duty, suited for the job because they were able to transport people but usually trained only in basic first aid. While the EMS system was then constantly expanded and firmly established, it still appeared to operate more in the background rather than being perceived as an active participant in the healthcare system. With the COVID-19 crisis the perception has changed: EMS workers are now widely hailed as heroes on the front lines of the pandemic. It is therefore hoped that EMS forces and their supporting role will receive further attention with the crisis.

 Further technology implementation in the healthcare sector

Changes have also occurred in the transport sector: Much of travel is shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic in many European countries. As a result, countries started using drones and robots to deliver medical supplies to hospitals.

In light of this, as one example unmanned drones have been used to deliver medical supplies to isolated communities – which effectively reduces the costs and transportation time of medical supplies, especially where hospitals are particularly hard to reach.

Healthcare investments still high

The global crisis has brought many industries to a standstill, with investments being scaled back. There have been concerns about delays to clinical trials caused by social distancing and lockdowns in European countries could hold back R&D programmes, but the overarching sentiment seemed to be that this wasn’t likely to impact heavily on investment decisions in the near-term. The disruption caused by the coronavirus crisis hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of European venture capitalists to make funding available to healthcare companies. They are proactively looking for new investments and many are expecting to devote more time to them.

Public safety companies are assisting the frontline pandemic response

During the COVID-19 pandemic, EMTs and paramedics were assessing, treating and transporting patients. While public safety personnel are on the frontline, many companies, from major multinationals to local businesses, are supporting first responders with new products, logistical and technical expertise to procure PPE or support operations. An extensive list can be found here: