New Ambulance Systems Allow You to Customize Delivery of Care for Safety & Efficiency.
John Kustuch, EMT-P, FF, I/C, Prior Director of Operations for MMR
For as long as ambulances have been around (since the welcomed adaptation of the hearse in the 1950’s), someone other than the medic himself has been making decisions about things like where to install the cabinets, what to put in them, where the defib mount should go, what side of the patient the medic should sit on, and countless other customizations that vary from agency to agency. Once the ambulance order is placed, that’s the configuration you’re stuck with, for as many as ten years. This is despite the type of call, the amount of inventory kept on board, or even the hand-dominance of the medic.
But it doesn’t have to be like this.
For the first time, agencies can adapt their ambulances to changing needs, changing missions, and even medic’s personal preferences. This is now possible with the Ferno iN∫TRAXX Integrated Vehicle Component System, a modular and interchangeable vehicle environment that provides SAE compliant safety for providers and patients while reducing operating costs for agencies.
“We had no way to reach our patient and supplies at the same time,” said Mike McCart, Deputy Chief of Pulaski Co., Mo. and the first agency in the U.S. to convert to the iN∫TRAXX environment.
“Literally thinking outside the box, [Ferno] looked at how we can take an 18-inch cabinet, turn it up on its end, and access everything without getting up. Now we have something that’s easily accessible, is easy to clean, looks good, is ergonomic and customizable.” He added that since converting his fleet to the iN∫TRAXX environment early last year, Pulaski medics are more comfortable and secure working in the back of the ambulance, so they can focus more on the patient.
The iN∫TRAXX System has been dynamically crash tested to meet SAE J3043, and is proven to keep equipment secure during 26g impacts. It features soft-sided SafePak Supply Bags that eliminate strike hazards during aggressive vehicle movements and put supplies within easy reach of the medic, so they don’t have to get out of their seat. SafePak Pouches have clear windows, are easily labeled, self-closing and come in various sizes.
Across the industry we find that many ambulances are routinely overstocked with supplies in quantities that aren’t necessary. Many items expire and are wasted. “One of the challenges we initially had was to get over the assumption that every ambulance had to be fully stocked as a mass casualty vehicle,” said McCart. “We had $10,000 in wasted inventory because of poor inventory management.”SafePaks are easily integrated into any inventory management or make-ready system. Returning crews can pull their SafePak out for resupply while the new crew brings on a fresh one. The size of the SafePak Pouches also inhibits overstocking. “We realized $10,000 immediate savings in inventory alone,” McCart says. “And that’s just the beginning,” he added.
Pulaski Co. went through a complete overhaul of its inventory and downsized its base of supplies in order to accommodate its most typical patient needs. Because the modular iN∫TRAXX system features a track wall with Equipment Mounts and SafePak Supply Bags that click in and out, it can also easily accommodate crew preferences for placement in a matter of minutes. Similarly, SafePaks for specialty care runs can be set aside or kept in a supervisor vehicle to be brought on board in special circumstances.
South East Coast Ambulance Service, a high performance EMS ambulance operator in the United Kingdom, sees a seven percent average increase in activity every year, which equals to about 56,000 extra calls annually. Like all agencies, SECAmb operates under the constant pressure to improve patient outcomes while lowering costs.
“We are on an improvement program in the UK that’s really trying to change the infrastructure of how we respond and change our service, without being funded for that directly,” said Justin Wand, former Head of Fleet Operations and Technical Support. “It’s our internally generated efficiencies that allow us to reinvest that money and put it into frontline services to improve the level of care for the patient,” he added.
Both SECAmb and Pulaski Co. EMS use a sprinter van equipped with the iN∫TRAXX system (although the iN∫TRAXX system is compatible with any size vehicle). This improves fuel economy by 15.5 miles per gallon, says McCart, who also utilizes Ferno’s ACETECH system for managing vehicle idling.
Convincing a team of medics about the benefits that come with change isn’t always easy, acknowledged both Wand and McCart. Old habits die hard, after all. But both acknowledged the benefits far outweigh the reluctances once their teams really understood them.
“We have to give our teams the opportunity to buy into it, to design it, to shape it, and make them feel that they have a lot of ownership around it,” said Wand. “But change is coming and I think people are becoming a lot more attuned to the type of technology that’s all around them. Why would we not grab that kind of opportunity and put that into the design of a vehicle and really give them the wherewithal to be far more efficient and effective with their clinical skills and their ergonomic layout? If they are happier, they will be more productive and that will lead to better clinical outcomes,” he added.
For more information on the Ferno iN∫TRAXX system and to receive a free copy of our new Ferno Solutions Guide, visit www.fernoems.com/intraxx or call 877-733-0911.