Panasonic Helps the Guam Fire Department Improve Efficiency, Patient Care
Located in the Western Pacific, Guam is a 209-square-mile island that has been part of the United States since 1898. As an unincorporated U.S. territory, its population of 162,000 citizens is governed by a civilian government with its own executive, judicial and legislative branches. Along with a large U.S. military presence, Guam’s economy is driven by tourism from Asia, with visitors drawn to the island’s tropical beauty, unique history and culture.
In 2012, the Guam Fire Department began to bill citizens for ambulance transports that were previously free. This move provided the department with much needed funding, which allowed them to invest in providing better service to the community, but also required the agency to move beyond its pen-and-paper record-keeping tradition and creating a digital patient care reporting system.
In order to effectively make the switch, they required mobile technology that was not only proficient and powerful, but also extremely dependable on an island with extreme weather conditions. The answer was Panasonic Toughbook laptops.
“We looked at other options but they just didn’t have the capabilities we needed,” said Assistant Fire Chief Daren Burrier. “Having the ruggedness matters. We’ve had runs in the rain, at the beach, near the water and everything in-between.”
With Panasonic Toughbook 19 rugged convertible laptops in each of their ambulances, the agency has been able to greatly increase its efficiency and level of service to the community, Burrier added.
“What ended up happening is that our documentation started to improve, and more accurate patient records lead to better patient care,” he said. He added that the computers also streamlined the agency’s quality assurance (QA) process, and allowed them to get up-to-date on data collection and submission at the national level, making them eligible for more federal grants.
TRANSITION TO TABLETS
Following the agency’s positive experience with Panasonic Toughbook, they recently decided to upgrade their technology by investing in Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 rugged tablets. Running Windows with a lightweight build, 10-point touchscreen, integrated mobile broadband connectivity and enterprise-grade battery plus a bridge battery, the rugged tablets were the ideal tool to take the island’s first responders productivity to the next level, Burrier said.
With the Toughpad tablets, emergency responders can more efficiently complete patient records, communicate and retrieve information. They can also utilize satellite GPS, capture photos to attach to patient care reports, and capture patient and doctor signatures – all from a single, HIPAA-compliant device. The agency will soon deploy additional Toughpad tablets for fire inspections, building plan reviews and issuing citations.
“Before, it was just a dream to have a computer at every station,” Burrier said. “But with these Panasonic tablets it’s becoming a reality, and now by the end of the year, the entire department will be digital. It’s made us a lot more efficient in doing our job and collecting the necessary fees for doing that job, which we can put back into the system to provide the community with the best service possible.”
For more information you can access the full case study here.