Mobile Computing Solution Helps Castle Rock Improve Emergency Response

In emergency situations, every second matters. A renewed investment in rugged technology is helping the Castle Rock Fire & Rescue Department boost efficiency among its first responders, ultimately helping to save costs, time and lives.

The Castle Rock Fire & Rescue Department employs 76 first responders and medical professionals charged with protecting the lives and property of 56,000 residents in the town of Castle Rock and surrounding areas of Douglas County, Colorado. Castle Rock recently sought to upgrade its emergency call documentation system to ease the burden placed on the department’s EMTs and paramedics, who are responsible for recording all procedures and care rendered during an emergency medical call. [pullquote]“This new system continues to help us streamline our process, eliminate errors, greatly increase our performance and deliver the best possible care to patients.”[/pullquote]

Castle Rock selected fully-rugged Panasonic Toughbook laptops as the foundation of its mobile computer and software system in order to update patient reporting processes and meet the diverse needs of its fire and EMS organization. Initially selecting Panasonic’s Toughbook 28 laptops, the department recently decided to upgrade to the Toughbook 31 laptop.

Before the initial Toughbook deployment, paramedics relied on pen-and-paper notes, which required them to document every aspect of the patient’s care from memory. As the team transported a patient, everything had to be written down in thorough detail and then transcribed on computers back at the station after they returned from the hospital.

This system presented significant challenges. Because of the manual process, information was often incomplete due to the difficulty of recalling every detail of a patient’s care. The department’s paramedics were regularly conducting three or four runs at one time, which made it difficult to remember the minute details of every patient seen at the end of a long shift. Upon completion, the required reports were faxed to the hospital long after the patient had arrived.

Now, Castle Rock can take advantage of higher data speeds, the ability to transmit EKG data from Physio-Control LIFEPAK 15 cardiac monitors via Bluetooth directly to electronic patient care reports (ePCR), the availability of a mobile air card to stay globally connected without having to be tied to a WiFi access point—all while spending considerably less time on paperwork and continuing to improve the accuracy and efficiency of overall patient care.

castlerock2Castle Rock EMTs and paramedics routinely carry their Toughbook 31 notebooks into the emergency room when dropping off a patient, to talk through the preceding medical care with an overseeing physician and fax in hard copies of the report.

“In the end, it’s my responsibility to make sure the paramedics are delivering the right care,” said Dr. Steve Heinz, Physician Advisor for Castle Rock Fire & Rescue at Sky Ridge. “This new system continues to help us streamline our process, eliminate errors, greatly increase our performance and deliver the best possible care to patients.”

Despite multiple drops, ongoing in-vehicle vibration and seasonal exposure to extreme temperatures, none of the Toughbook computers have failed and no patient data has been lost since the initial deployment eight years ago.

To learn more about the Castle Rock Fire & Rescue Department’s Toughbook deployment, download the full case study from the Panasonic Solutions for Business website.