Administration and Leadership, Documentation & Patient Care Reporting, Equipment & Gear, Special Topics

Enabling IT Solutions to Complete the Care Continuum

Issue 11 and Volume 40.

The expectations for EMS organizations are greater now than ever before. As advanced treatments and expanding service protocols continue to modernize, our growing population has become far more dependent upon public services than in years past. This increase has a taxing effect on an industry that’s already operating at near capacity. Factor in elements such as the impact of the Affordable Care Act, tighter budgets, and diminishing financial resources and you’ll find that most agencies are striving to find new ways to enhance their efficiency.

In doing so, these groups must balance the demand for effectiveness, with the need to increase revenue and maintain strict HIPAA compliance, all while continuing to focus on the most important piece of the healthcare equation—the patient.

Traditional healthcare providers, including hospitals, physicians groups, labs, and pharmacies, among others, are all seeking new methods to deliver high patient value in unconventional ways. This is occurring so as to control costs and improve the coordination of care. EMS organizations have a tremendous opportunity to deliver greater value and create a positive, lasting change throughout the healthcare system.

To be an agent of change, EMS organizations must be equipped with technology that fosters collaboration and coordination throughout hospital and physician systems. They must also make it easier for EMTs and paramedics to focus on providing optimal patient care by affording them realtime access to the right information, in the right context, at the right time.

EMS organizations nationwide are reframing their traditional thinking when it comes to how they interact with hospitals, physicians, and the community, in order to provide the highest value for patient care. Industry experts also agree with this mindset.

In a recent article for Emergency Management, EMS consultant Jay Fitch, PhD, said, “EMS leaders understand that transitioning from managing isolated data points to gaining insight from integrated information systems is key to playing a larger role in healthcare. It lets EMS demonstrate its downstream value to patients, politicians and payers.” In other words, the days of business as usual are now over and new, innovative technology solutions can help EMS agencies achieve better results by:

  • Bringing contextual, historical patient information, traditionally only available through electronic medical record systems, to paramedics in emergent and community paramedicine settings;
  • Enhancing patient care documentation in the field, and decreasing the time spent at hospitals transitioning patients from care; and
  • Seamlessly scheduling follow-up visits for patients recently discharged from the hospital and more easily partnering with hospitals to reduce avoidable patient readmissions.

Finding the right technology tools can help EMS organizations interact with patients and traditional healthcare providers like never before. By implementing innovative tools that better address the need for in-context and real-time information, healthcare providers and EMS organizations are able to work together to deliver the best possible care to their patients.