Though specialists predicted the global pandemic years in advance, it still caught most of the world by surprise – and seriously underprepared. In many cases, health organizations and governments have had to scramble to gather the resources they need to respond.
For an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organization, there are many angles to pandemic preparedness. It encompasses everything from adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and health and safety policies to the availability of funds, which are needed to outfit the organization with everything it needs to respond effectively.
Our frontline healthcare providers are working tirelessly to provide medical aid for all patients and suspected patients of the coronavirus. They’re bearing the brunt of the effort, but there are ways to keep everyone connected and reduce the burden on healthcare workers.
4 ways technology can help prevent the spread of COVID-19
Notifying emergency providers of potential risks while en route to calls
Dispatch systems are very cooperative – they typically have Paramedic Communications Officers verbally screen anyone calling for an ambulance. These communications officers have systems in place to identify when a caller tests positive according to their telephone screening measures.
Technology can expose this warning to emergency responders while on their way to the emergency. Once they’re aware of the risks, paramedics can ensure they wear the proper protective equipment before entering the scene. The situational awareness can also be made available to administration for analysis and trending.
Similarly, emergency departments in hospitals can use this tool to receive advance notice before confirmed or suspected cases arrive.
Pre-screening for health care professionals
Many healthcare organizations have pre-screening measures in place at this time. It helps to ensure the safety of healthcare practitioners, the patients they see during each shift and their peer providers as well as partnering agencies. A simple pre-screen includes a basic questionnaire:
- Do you have symptoms of the illness?
- What is your temperature?
- Have you been exposed to COVID-19 through travel or otherwise?
By conducting pre-shift screening activities electronically, it becomes feasible to track and monitor trends. Certain types of systems will let you log results and share them more easily, allowing different people in your organization to review the data and visualize trends in a useful way.
Documentation of screening results during emergency calls
Healthcare providers can use technology to document the results of screening exercises while responding to an emergency call. When these results are documented electronically, notifications can be sent to all relevant stakeholders for awareness and action, whether it’s the ER or administrators.
Because victims of the coronavirus can experience symptoms for weeks after contracting it, many EMS systems are committed to monitoring identified patients to ensure and support recovery. When this data is captured electronically, it can be used for trend analysis in anticipation of better serving others with the disease. Subsequent data can be automatically sent to any relevant stakeholders to enhance the systemic response to the pandemic.
Get pandemic preparedness tech
To sum up, technology makes it easier for healthcare organizations to pre-screen for COVID-19, notify paramedics to gear up before a call, pre-alert emergency departments and monitor current patients. It also integrates data from all these events into one system, where trends can be analyzed by administrators for any number of useful insights.
The tech itself is easy for to implement and use. Want to see how it can help your organization improve its response to the pandemic, slow the spread and ease the burden on healthcare workers? Speak to a rep from Interdev Technologies for more details.