5 Signs You Need a New ePCR

Posted on September 1, 2020
Tags: EMS

Since the migration to electronic patient care records (ePCRs) in the late 2010s, software has become an increasingly important part of the daily experience for a medic. We all use software to enter in call data, patient demographics, treatments, narratives, and much more.

With several ePCR tools available on the market, it may seem daunting to find your best fit. And once you’ve been working in a given tool for very long, the idea of moving to a new one can also be stressful.

However, if your ePCR tool is not optimizing your EMS agency’s workflow – and offering you practical, helpful insight into operations and incidents – it might be time to consider a change. Here are 5 signs you might need a new ePCR tool.

1. Your Crew Finds Your ePCR Software Hard to Use

We all know that medics already have plenty to focus on while out on a call. The patient’s health is the number one concern, not to mention environmental stressors and the need to transport quickly. Proper documentation of the patient’s care should be seamless and easily worked into the other tasks at hand.

If your ePCR software isn’t easy to use, you’ll have a lackluster response to using the software and you may not get the right data you need to adequately document calls and conduct further analysis. Ask your crews how they feel about your current ePCR (if they haven’t already voiced their opinions). You may find it’s time to look for an ePCR tool that makes daily operations easier and data entry simple. For example, look for an ePCR that is designed with medics in mind. It should work across devices (laptops, tablets, desktops, etc.) and be mindful of an in-field user experience.

2. Your ePCR Reports Keep Getting Rejected

Submitting ePCR reports is admittedly not the most exciting part of the job, but it is an important one nonetheless. In some areas, submitting NEMSIS data is a requirement for receiving additional funding or accreditation and when reports are rejected it just creates a big headache.

If you find yourself spending substantial time fixing reports, reviewing what went wrong, and then documenting how to avoid the problem in the future, it may be time to find a new tool. Consider an ePCR that offers built-in validation (catching mistakes as you work through a report and alerting you before allowing you to continue) to help create clean reports and lessen the chance that your reports will be rejected.

3. Analyzing Your ePCR Data is Complicated

If you collect the data, you should be able to analyze it. A good sign it might be time to shop around for a new ePCR is if you’re continually struggling to make sense of your data or if the format makes it hard to derive insight.

A good ePCR makes data analysis uncomplicated and straightforward. It should offer strong visuals and provide a powerhouse for performing data analysis you need to understand trends impacting your agency. You should be able to review metrics over historic time periods, and easily compare various variables. To actually use your data, you need to be able to understand it; otherwise, your efforts are in vain.

4. Conducting QA/QI on Your ePCR Reports is an Uphill Battle

Are you struggling with quality improvement projects? Can you relay messages to medics with ease about changes they should make in the future? Or assign billers the right types of reviews?

Your ePCR should provide a quality improvement tool that’s easy to use and helps connect the dots on where you may need to make changes in your protocols. You can create more effective quality assurance and quality improvement projects – with measurable goals – by using real-world data from your own agency, and tracking it over time. This allows you to see, in black and white, what changes are making an impact, and what need to be tweaked. This creates real impact and saves you hours of wasted efforts with no real proof of what is or isn’t working.

5. Your ePCR has a Steep Learning Curve

If your ePCR is challenging to use on everyday calls, it’s going to take more investment on your part to train crews and keep them in the loop on any updates that occur. You could find yourself in a cycle of continuous training and correcting mistakes made from unwieldy software.

Instead, look for an ePCR that is easy to use and has a solid training plan so you don’t spend time constantly training staff on how to use it. Some vendors provide dedicated support on on-site training to ensure your team can ask any questions and feel comfortable using the tool. Reducing the learning curve means cleaner data from the field, from every team member.

If you can identify with any of these signs, it may be time to investigate a new ePCR software system for your EMS agency.

Learn how you can best select an ePCR that meets the needs of your department by downloading our free ePCR Buyer’s Guide.