A key challenge for the EMS community is to build stronger partnerships with the emergency department and more effective communication, especially during the critical period before arrival. If EMS communication with the ED is ineffective, these three problems may arise:

  • Delayed response from the emergency department personnel.
  • Inefficient amount of resources allocated to the patient.
  • Inadequate resources on hand and ready when the patient presents to the emergency department.

There are new mechanisms now available to help EMS providers improve communication with the emergency department to ensure that resources are available and adequate when the patient arrives.


Apps Available to Alert Emergency Department Response


The days of using an elaborate system of radio reports, faxes, emails, and paging systems to give alerts on critical trauma, cardiac, stroke and sepsis patients have been replaced by several apps.  With the push of a button EMS providers in many areas are able to now alert hospitals to prepare the necessary resources for the arrival of critical patients. This is done at the same time that HIPAA-compliant patient information and data is delivered directly to the trauma, cardiac, stroke and sepsis medical specialists that will be treating the patient.


Telemedicine Enables Consultation During Patient Transport


Even after you alert the hospital emergency department of the patient’s medical status, it may make sense for EMS personnel to communicate directly with a specialist to observe the patient through use of telemedicine.  Telemedicine enables physician consultation with EMS personnel during critical situations while specialty teams await the arrival of the patient.  The medical specialist may help avoid emergency department overcrowding by sending patients with less severe medical issues to less busy hospitals, or by even solving the case on the scene and avoiding transport entirely. Effective telemedicine allows for the patient to receive the right care and resources as soon as possible, even if that means that a transport to the hospital becomes unnecessary.


Cloud Sharing of Data Available in Some States


Some states are now able to exchange patient health information in varying degrees using a variety of software systems in cooperation with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). These cities and states include Denver, Colorado; Indianapolis, Indiana; Oklahoma; California; and Rochester, New York.  The California EMS Authority developed a model for integrating EMS health information exchange called SAFR for:

  • Information Search,
  • Hospital Alert,
  • Filing records, and
  • Reconciling patient information.

Sharing of patient information through the cloud allows access of verified medical information even when patients or their families are not able to provide it, and enables faster transmission of the patient’s data to the hospitals prior to arrival.

SOURCE EMS1.com, “3 harms of EMS miscommunication and how to fix them,” by Rom Duckworth

MedTrust Transport provides emergent and non-emergent ambulance services in Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Georgetown, South Carolina.  We have trained EMT personnel and a fleet of fully-equipped ambulances.  We aim to provide compassionate and timely patient care.