Dr. EMS
Emergency Medical Triaging System

Summary

Dr. EMS is a system that allows the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the Emergency Department (ED) to pre-hospital triage patients quickly and to provide effective patient care.

Client

Grady Memorial Hospital
Georgia Institute of Technology

Background

Field paramedics (EMS) are responsible for reporting patient information during ambulance transfer to the receiving trauma center (ER) at the hospital. Usually the dispatch coordinator (PDC) handles these calls, which include information on patient vitals, past medical history, the mechanism of injury, and other on-scene factors.

EMS Background

Journey Map

We observed the practices within the EMS team and ER trauma team to understand their daily routine and issues associated with triage communication. The user flowchart below highlights each user’s main tasks and the experience map shows the user's interactions.

Challenging And Complex

The main challenge was prioritizing the issues when dealing with the complexity of a hospital workflow and the interactions between all the users. From multiple interviews, there was an inconsistency between the EMT reporting and the PDC reporting due to way every person reports. This adds to the difficulty of prioritizing the issues.

Due to the complexity of the healthcare system, we chose to focus on call prioritization and consistent reporting of patient information. These, in turn, will decrease the over/undertriage rates and the ER response time.

Ideation

Below are the concepts for both the EMT and PDC-facing interface. The EMT interface focuses on quick documentation of essential information, and the PDC interface focuses on maintaining a call log that can prioritize incoming calls based on severity of situation.

The designs led to a mobile application for the EMT and a web application for the PDC. The EMT already uses his phone for calling, and creating an app would not encumber his normal routine. The PDC also uses his computer for logging health information, and developing a web app would reduce the number of devices he would have to use (radio and paper log).

Task Flow

The task flow below shows the interaction between the EMT mobile app and the PDC web app.

Solution

Dr. EMS provides a consistent reporting method for the EMT, which minimizes the rate of miscommunication and ultimately, over and undertriage. It also provides an efficient way of relaying information to the PDC. High acuity situations come through calls, and low acuity situations come via the patient entry form, which helps the PDC prioritize patients. Overall Dr. EMS helps the emergency department by saving time and money.

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