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3 Data Points You Need in Your Emergency Department

ESO Staff

Emergency Departments are often a place of controlled chaos; alarms ringing, people rushing, ambulance crews arriving and leaving. The most serious patients need immediate attention and face life-threatening circumstances where minutes can make a difference in the outcome.

ED health care professionals must make the best decisions possible with the information they have readily available. Leaving any detail out – including the patient’s care en route to the hospital – could easily change the treatment plan and the outcome. That’s why it is so valuable to have access to a complete patient care record, created by the responding ambulance agency and handed off quickly and seamlessly at the ED.

Today, the easiest way to accomplish this is using electronic patient care records (ePCRs), many of which can be imported directly into a hospital’s EHR system and instantly accessed and reviewed as needed for the entirety of the patient’s stay. Perhaps the most important transfer of this data comes at hand-off from EMS to ED. These three data points are especially important at admission to form and conduct an effective treatment plan.

1. Fluids Administered

Paramedics are trained to quickly assess a patient’s condition and administer a standard initial treatment plan. When symptoms presented are straightforward and seemingly textbook, there may be few surprises in the patient care record.

However, when certain conditions are a bit more difficult to ascertain – for example, a case of sepsis – smaller clues may be key in helping hospital physicians make a more efficient diagnosis. Some EMS agencies have standardized sepsis protocols based on one or a combination of prevailing scales and depend heavily on fluid resuscitation and prehospital notification. A complete record of the fluids and amounts administered, along with timing and observed response, may be a telltale sign of a hidden, serious condition that needs immediate intervention.

2. Medications Administered

A more obvious but imperative data point an ED needs upon a patient’s arrival is a comprehensive record of medications administered to the patient. While ambulance crews have their set protocols for medications based on presenting symptoms, it’s vital that ED staff take this into account to avoid double dosing or overdose.

According to The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, a hospitalized patient is subject to at least one medication error per day. Fortunately, most do not cause serious harm, but those that do can be expensive: each preventable adverse drug event (ADE) costs a hospital approximately $8,750. Receiving and reviewing a complete list of medications administered while en route to the ED helps prevent these errors and reduce your likelihood of a serious sentinel event.

3. Primary/Secondary Impressions

For an ED nurse or physician, every clue and fact about a patient can make a difference in their treatment plan, both immediate and longer-term. The primary and second impressions recorded by responding paramedics are invaluable in painting a complete picture of the patient’s situation. This can be especially helpful in challenging or less-than-straightforward cases. Receiving impression information – along with photos or videos – while the ambulance is en route to the hospital is today a possibility that gives ED staff a head start on addressing the patient’s condition.

Additionally, utilizing your ambulance agency’s impressions builds a better working relationship between prehospital and hospital professionals and creates an environment of trust and respect. This, in turn, encourages EMS crews to transport to your hospital, knowing that their work will be valued and incorporated into the patient’s care. Since statistics show that 20-30% of patients arrive at hospitals via ambulance, becoming a preferred location for transport for your local EMS partners can make a big difference in your overall hospital revenue.

Easier Data Handoff

The flow of information between EMS agencies and the hospital is key in ensuring better working relationships, improved communication, and overall optimum efficiency throughout the full spectrum of care. A powerful tool in achieving this is automated, bidirectional communication software like ESO Health Data Exchange (HDE) that delivers ePCRs directly into your hospital’s EMR or EHR.

This allows hospital professionals to quickly identify pre-hospital medications, conditions present, and other important patient info, all in real time. There’s no more waiting around for faxes or searching for handwritten notes; instead data is seamlessly translated into your medical record system, securely and quickly. Additionally, having this collection of data helps you uncover the analytics to improve operations, identify trends over time, and easily complete audits and accreditation processes in the future.

Leveraging key data points from your EMS partners can make a real difference in how you treat your patients arriving in your ED. When minutes matter and every detail gives you the full picture of a patient’s needs, you can create more effective and successful treatment plans.

View a demo of how ESO HDE helps hospitals and EMS bidirectionally share data in a secure, auditable, and real-time approach.

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