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Asset control is key for First Responders

Stan Adams
Apr 28, 2020 9:33:00 PM

In an emergency, “know where you towel is.” The tongue in cheek statement from author Douglas Adams in the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” trilogy is a very pointed reminder for every person dedicated to emergency response. It speaks to someone who can stay in control of any situation.

For First Responders, staying in control means always knowing where all your assets are. Within this context, everything you touch is an asset. Whether you are thinking about personnel, equipment, vehicles, or patients, knowing where assets are and where they need to be is the key to faster situation response.

In this article, we will take a brief look at three examples of why asset tracking solutions should be on your team’s radar.

Situational Awareness and Control

It should come as no surprise that vision is our dominant sense. About 80% of what we learn from the world around us is due to perception, learning, and cognitive response based on vision. The challenge within high stress, rapid response situations, is to quickly gather all relevant response data, prune out noise, deploy assets to contain the biggest threats, and adapt as the situation changes.

Using a map view that is automatically updated based on what is happening with each asset at the moment it happens, gives you the best command view of the event in real time without the underlying event noise. Consider the following scenario:

Your First Response team receives an active shooter call at a large mall. Your assignment is to establish your Command Center at the Northwest corner of the parking lot 1 mile behind the Police Command Center and set up a victim triage center as there are reports of many injuries ranging from minor to near catastrophic. Police Command has stated they will create safe zones for your crew to extract victims they remove from the hot zone.

You can now take the time to mentally interpret every situation report from Police command as to how the safe zones are setup, overlay in your head the most efficient way to deploy your extraction teams to retrieve those victims, and then direct your EMTs to set up triage zones based on your standard plans for an unknown number of victims with an unknown degree of care required. 

Or, you can look at your command tablet and see all relevant situational data at once:

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With map-based asset tracking, you can see the situation in an instant and can react to changing conditions in the safe zone as victims are identified. From there, you can direct response assets to move to different zones, coordinate best victim evacuation routes, and begin safe zone triage that feeds back to the command center.

Meanwhile your team knows exactly where the patient is going next within your triage center from the updated map.

The added benefit of using asset tracking is the ability to pass along key data the instant an asset captures it or associates it with another asset. In this next example, we will take a closer look at how a First Responder (asset) capturing victim (asset) data will help your team have faster access to life saving patient data.

Mobile assisted patient data capture saves lives

Faster, more accurate capture and identification of patient data can mean the difference between life and death when seconds matter. In this section we focus on the amount of manual paperwork overhead that inhibits First Responder efficiency but is a critical necessity to ensure the team follows proper protocols.

This is an area where this type of technology punches above its weight class.

Imagine your EMS response paperwork and visual evidence contained within your mobile device, so that your team can concentrate on triage, while the device handles all the data collection and patient data communication.

Good asset tracking solutions include this ability to share relevant data between assets and other integrated systems.

Consider the improvement to team efficiency with the ability to ID and geo-locate triage patients with a keystroke:

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Or, as soon as patient identification and initial triage are complete, that information is immediately available to the command center and authorized healthcare personnel downstream.

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Leveraging this type of modernized First Responder solution also ensures your team remains HIPAA compliant by limiting what is viewable to authorized roles. This includes integrating with your ePCR solution to eliminate operational redundancy from call to cost recovery.

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Smart Tracking Devices for Triage

The future state of patient triage tracking is a modern barcode wristband that encompasses a monitoring station in a wearable device. IOT development and design has created a new class of smart devices that can be engineered or repurposed for emergency response teams. When evaluating asset solutions, smart reviewers will also evaluate a solution’s commitment to support emerging technology that improves Responder efficiency.

 Our team has taken a two-pronged approach to this area:

  • Review and adapt common and commercially available devices for First Responder use
  • Explore and partner with next generation smart tracking device manufactures to help develop First Responder specific monitoring features.

In support of the first prong of our approach, we have integrated with a smart watch to provide automatic patient vitals updates, location, and warnings when vitals move out of predetermine ranges.

Triage personnel can redirect time spent manually inspecting patient vitals to additional patient care. Our implementation includes location reporting and data retrieved from any integrated patient health history. Now, triage care can adapt to any known medical issues or drug reactions.

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In the second prong of our approach, we are working with select IOT tracking teams who specialize in medical research and laboratory environments to develop the next generation of industry specific, lower cost, smart patient wristbands.

As these devices have already begun limited field trials, we are confident that a low-cost replacement to the patient wristband is imminent and should be considered as a line item in any First Responder budget submission for the coming operating year.

 

As First Response Teams look to increase response time efficiency, better patient care, and improved coordination response, staying in control of your operational assets is a critical part of operations that is often overlooked, but can make the difference in patient survivability during a crisis.

To learn more about how QuantaSTAT can help your team modernize your triage, please visit us at www.quantastat.com.

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