How is Technology Reshaping the Way First Responders Address Emergencies?
The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the challenges first responders face when addressing emergencies. This article outlines a couple of ways technology can help overcome these challenges and optimize emergency service operations.
The past year and a half have been challenging for first responders. COVID-19 cases across the globe are at an all-time high, and the pandemic has significantly altered not only the global economy but also how emergency rooms and patient information around the world are managed.
COVID-19 has heightened the need for efficient and easily adaptable solutions that can streamline processes for first responders. Questions that come to mind for medical professionals include how we can prevent miscommunication about patient information, how to move more effectively to support our rapid responders and EMTs, and as we enter 2022 – how can developers be keen to create solutions to address workflows.
How Can Tech Change Emergency Services?
COVID has highlighted the glaring need for the digital transformation of emergency services. From emergency room wait times to doctor and patient information being shared; the pandemic has exposed numerous cracks that can only be addressed by technology.
Below are ways technology can optimize how first responders address emergencies:
Accurate documentation and ease of access
Tech innovation makes documentation easier and more accurate. It provides multiple first responders with a way to seamlessly access information about patients and persons-in-need, which reduces errors. To ensure accuracy, digital tools today also allow for heightened accountability through completed documentation. For example, Digital EMS Solutions’ Medic Clipboard, an easy-to-use software application, provides a user-friendly platform to help first responders accurately input info. It also includes a digital paper trail that allows administrators to ensure high-quality care and proper recording.
When facing an emergency, first responders need to evaluate the situation to provide proper treatment to the persons in need. First responders then need to treat them accordingly and then accurately document the care provided. This will make transitioning from the ground to the medical facility better for staff on updates for their patient’s status.
This is crucial in emergencies because when medical staff are unable to access all the information they need or miss out on important details, their ability to make critical decisions becomes impaired. Some reports have found that an estimated 80% of all clinical errors are because of miscommunication between medical staff. Medical front liners are left vulnerable to making mistakes if they keep relying on the traditional pen-and-paper method of listing down information.
With digital solutions, first responders are less likely to make mistakes because the sharing of information becomes more accessible and streamlined. This improves the decision-making process and helps first responders address emergencies with increased accuracy and efficiency.
Quality of care and practitioner accountability controls
In the healthcare and emergency services space, accountability is one of the biggest hindrances. However, tech platforms encourage accurate documentation of information.
This could encourage better quality control and quality improvement on the part of first responders because they have a paper trail of the processes they underwent.
With updated records, first responders can see, at a glance, what has been done. This can save hours on research and data extraction, streamlining processes needed for quality assurance. This also expedites record-keeping, minimizing piles of paper reports that may not get filed for weeks, or even months.
Enhanced support for first responders
Recent surveys show that physician burnout is still a pressing concern, as up to 42% of physicians are experiencing burnout. The numbers are higher for emergency doctors, as up to 65% are burning out. Brought on by a combination of factors that prove extreme emotional, physical, and mental stress while on the job – it’s important for medical organizations to leverage technology to improve the quality of work for these individuals. If the tools exist to make their lives easier and save the lives of more patients – why would medical providers not want to explore this opportunity?
Another challenge can be the sheer number of frontlines not being enough to keep up with the volume of cases. A poll by Kaiser Family Foundation and Washington Post also found that 1 in 6 healthcare workers are experiencing burnout due to the pandemic. Digital solutions provide first responders with a more convenient way to share information and document incidents, making their workflow less heavy and more efficient.
A Better Outlook
The demands put upon our first responders continue to increase, which in turn affect how accurately they’re able to help people, especially in times of great crisis. Fortunately, technological improvements are improving how they do their job without adding to their workloads.
Technology like Medic Clipboard from Digital EMS Solutions and others in the industry allows first responders a way to digitize information. As we enter a long winter of more potential COVID cases – it’s valuable that we take the time to look back on the past year and a half and ask how organizations can improve processes and provide more value for patients and caregivers. Information management and mobile information will continue to be an integral part of the way first responders attend to emergencies in the future.
Nik Froehlich is the CEO and Founder of Saritasa.