Are you a leader in the emergency medical services (EMS) field here in Kansas? The need for a swift and effective first response continues to increase each year, and meeting the needs of the medical industry is a growing challenge. Here are some of the ways you can make a difference and help your EMS team do their best in the field:
When your team of responders is rolling out, factors affecting the travel interval can be the most significant overall contributor to longer response times. Calls in Kansas population centers such as Wichita will have your team wasting precious time weaving through traffic congestion and identifying the best route before finally arriving at the patient’s side. Have your fleet serviced by a professional upfitter so that all emergency vehicles are equipped with sirens, light bars, and anything else you need to clear out their path and save time.
EMS response teams don’t just work as a self-contained unit; certain situations call for coordination with other emergency service professionals, such as the police, fire department, or even military personnel. If your communications system is inadequate, you may have poor radio coverage, which creates confusion and difficulty in establishing an overview of the situation and action plan. Even though your radio system might suffice for day-to-day operations, consider an upgrade to improve coordination with other emergency services when the need arises.
Further training of EMTs
Emergency response technicians (EMTs) have to deal with whatever scenario is thrown at them upon arrival. Skill comes with experience, but every veteran EMT has to start learning somewhere. By investing in further training for your EMTs, you can help prepare them for the unexpected.
Pediatric emergencies, for example, are only a small percentage of total EMS calls, but child emergencies must be handled differently. Similarly, patients may refuse to be transported, or the case may turn out to be one for which ALS (Advanced Life Support) should have been dispatched. In these scenarios, having undergone extra training will increase the EMT’s confidence and ability to assess and take action in a short time upon arrival at the scene.
Dispatch and relocation strategy
If you are in a position to make changes in strategy regarding dispatch and relocation, consider the room for improvement in areas based on relative need. For instance, a higher volume of calls tends to come in during the day compared to night, and in urban centers compared to rural areas. Relocating and managing schedules will let you fine-tune your staffing to cover the busiest locations and times of the day. Smart dispatch assignment allows the closest vehicle to re-route from a low priority call to one of high priority.
Many EMS providers are working under the terms of a performance-based agreement. This often leads to excessive stress over possible fines, under-serving patients, and failing to meet other requirements. If you influence the process, you can help your team as early as the planning stage. Be proactive in creating an agreement where possible licensure and liability issues are fleshed out.
EMS teams play a critical role in out-of-hospital patient survival. As a leader, you’re able to set these processes in motion and equip your team with the training and resources they need to be able to perform this critical job to the best of their ability.