CEO Ellen: 2021 and preparedness for 2022
The beginning of 2021 was characterised by optimism and positive outlooks. Vaccine production was ramped up and the rollout began. Borders were reopened and the prospect of returning to familiar daily life was promising.
At the time of writing, we are again facing uncertainties with various covid variants. Across Europe, the health care system is near maximum capacity. In Germany, ICU staff are pushed to their limits, while France registers a surge in covid hospitalisations. The situation creates logistical issues and patients are transferred across regions and international borders to receive necessary medical treatment. In the US the omicron variant spreads fast. The pandemic has been – and still is – exhausting leading to many health care professionals reporting symptoms of fatigue.
In this very serious situation, we are proud to see the EpiShuttle being used as a tool to protect the patients, health care workers and pilots and to facilitate patient transfer to areas with sufficient capacity. However, we know that health care professionals do not receive the necessary training and practical experience with the technology.
The likelihood of the pandemic was well known, but no one was prepared. Emergency preparedness and practical experience with new lifesaving technology are crucial. Equipped, trained, and experienced healthcare professionals make the entire health care system work more efficiently thus saving more lives. This guarantees that we will be prepared when the next pandemic comes, and the next one after that. We don’t know where or when, but it might come soon, and it might be deadlier.
When looking back at 2021, we remember digital and in-person conversations with EpiShuttle users and distributors. Healthcare professionals, air ambulance services, the military and CBRNe professionals have shared their experiences and challenges around patient isolation and transport. We are glad to see that FAI rent-a-jet has obtained supplementary type certification (STC) for use in the Bombardier Challenger CL-600. In addition, Pilatus offers integration of the EpiShuttle in medevac PC-24s. It is also important to mention that the EU recognized the EpiShuttle as an important tool by launching ResEU and the Norwegian Air Ambulance service, in March 2022.
Our skilled research and development team has worked nonstop for many years to develop sustainable and effective products that solve problems the health care professionals are facing today and will face in the future. This year we have had feedback that the EpiShuttle will be the main form for transport when patients are suspected to have infectious diseases or to have consumed chemical products.
We have also learned that the EpiShuttle is too large for some aircrafts while others have told us that the EpiShuttle is too small for some missions. We will take their feedback and insight into account when developing both the EpiShuttle and other products.
No one knows what the future holds. But we do know that there will be a new pandemic and that we have to be prepared. That we will have to find a way to live with covid. And that the life and health of health care professionals and pilots will be put at risk.
Our new year’s wish is that the authorities, politicians, and health care management will choose to prioritise emergency preparedness, training, and practical experience.
Happy Holidays and all the best for the new year from everyone at EpiGuard!