Flight EMS is a specialized type of prehospital patient work. You’re away from the ground network, in a cramped space, often with a very medically complicated patient that has a lot of individual issues going on.
The documentation of a critically ill patient is crucial to the medical—and financial—success of an EMS organization. One EMS entity, Air Medical Group Holdings (AMGH), seized an opportunity to improve documentation of the critically ill in an effort to better protect their providers with more extensive data on a call, all while also improving upon their recouped revenue from calls of this nature.
Care In Flight
The challenge that AMGH wanted to address was how to do a better job of collecting more complete data for the betterment of our patients, providers and organization on the whole. One of our hurdles to overcome was finding fields that were meaningful to providers across the many states that we provide services for.
The documentation of a critical care patient is extensive. A patient of this nature is commonly being administered multiple medications at any given time; they’re on a 12-lead monitor; they have numerous pumps; they could also be on a ventilator for their respiratory drive.
Furthermore, in flight transports, you’re documenting various items concerned with the aircraft and flight crew. Consultation with our network of providers, in addition to working with subject matter experts at ImageTrend, helped us find an effective solution.
The Run Form
AMGH determined that the key to solving this challenge was the run form template. If we strengthened the document our providers used every day, we could see success in our goals.
Many steps, including seeking out the advice and feedback of physicians, nurses and EMS professionals, were involved throughout the transition to our critical care template. Previously, our providers would need to document vast amounts of flight-specific information in their narrative of the chart, which made it very troublesome for reporting.
When AMGH began using ImageTrend and their Elite Critical Care module, we were able to directly document our crucial data right in the run form fields. We wanted to maximize the amount of reportable data that we were collecting, while further minimizing the amount of time it would take to collect it. An example of this is electronic worksheets, which allow for the population of data that has already been entered elsewhere in the run form previously.
Information such as labs, pressures, drip values, ventilator settings and even flight information such as altitude, cabin pressure and flight weight, was all able to be documented in critical care centric fields. Furthermore, with our optimization of these fields, the dialogue with ImageTrend is always open and we continue to increase the dataset as our use of the module grows. As always, ImageTrend has been responsive to our needs and open to our input
By being able to document more completely, our patients receive better care and our billing department can recoup more revenue from the services we provide to patients across the nation.
These results will continue to allow our organization to provide the best patient care possible though quality management/improvement. From the start of the patient care process, our focus continues to be the growth of our understanding and application of our data, which includes pioneering air medical studies, providing real time feedback to our facilities and always striving to enhance the air medical industry in data collection and reporting.
Editor’s note: Keith Finch is a finalist for a 2018 Hooley Award in the Service category. The Innovation, Service and New Frontier Hooley Awards will be presented at ImageTrend Connect on July 18, 2018.