East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) will invest more than £3 million to enhance its electronic patient record system during the next two years.
“This significant investment will help us to improve the care and treatment received by patients across the East Midlands,” said Steve Bowyer, EMAS Head of Information, Management and Technology.
The system will be used by EMAS ambulance crews across the region, bringing many benefits, including:
- Supporting clinical decision making: ambulance crews can access online information about medical and traumatic conditions and treatment.
- Providing prompt transfer of patient care to other health organisations: before leaving the scene of an incident or whilst en route to hospital, ambulance crews can electronically send details about the patient to the emergency department including appropriate photographs from the scene of the incident eg road traffic collision or electrocardiogram readings, to help doctors determine the extent of injury that may have been sustained. This allows staff in the hospital to prepare and be ready to act when the patient arrives.
- Increasing the integration of care systems across the healthcare environment: via the system ambulance crews can access details about alternative healthcare providers, allowing them to signpost patients and carers to the most appropriate local treatment or care facility, or to access any pre-existing care plans for the patient to ensure we treat them in accordance to their wishes.
- Improving the legibility of patient specific information – ambulance crews often complete paper report forms in difficult environments eg in the back of a fast moving ambulance vehicle, at the scene of an incident in various weather conditions, making it a challenge to keep written records clear and succinct.
- Readily available data for our research and audit teams – waiting for paper report forms to be received can delay our ability to identify trends and areas where improvements have or can be made, or to access important information for Coroners purposes. Equally the automated introduction of electrocardiograms (relating to cardiac care) into the patient record will support improvements in sharing of important information with receiving hospitals, and to aid our research, development and education work.
- Enhancing the security of patient records – electronic storage of records is a more robust, secure way to store patient records compared to paper copies.
Paramedic Derek Neve with Steve Bowyer Head of Information Management and Technology and the new equipment
Steve added: “One of our strategic objectives for 2017-2019 is to continue to develop our service for the benefit of our patients and staff. This investment significantly improves our ability to do that by providing the right IT solutions.
“The new software has a more modern appearance and additional functionality which includes integration with hospital booking-in systems, incorporation with our medical equipment used to save lives (eg defibrillators used to treat people in cardiac arrest), and useful tools such as a NHS service telephone number search and medical spell checker.
“We involved a staff group in the development of our business case for this project and have chosen to replace the current Toughbook laptops with a new tablet which has been chosen based on feedback relating to its weight, handling, infection prevention and control compliance and screen ease of use. The devices will also have 4G connectivity to improve data transfer.”
The new system will begin to be rolled out across of all of EMAS from April 2017, with the project completing in September.
The system and software will be provided by two organisations, Medusa and Getac UK Ltd.
"Medusa’s software has been utilised by NHS Ambulance Trusts within England for almost 10 years and we are pleased that EMAS have chosen to upgrade to our latest Siren ePCR solution via the G-Cloud framework," said Ian Wilkinson, Vice President of International Operations at Medusa Medical Technologies. "EMAS are an innovative ambulance service who want to ensure they deliver the best service possible to the East Midlands and Siren ePCR will help them achieve this".
“We had a clear understanding of EMAS’ requirements and were able to provide the hardware, services, solutions and support that would meet their business and user needs,” said Ian Jenner, Emergency Services Business Development Manager at Getac UK Ltd. “The Getac RX10 rugged tablets will enable EMAS staff to access and update patient medical records in real time, which is critical for the immediate and long term care of the patient. We're delighted to have been selected by EMAS, and to further grow our 3ES customer base.”
- EMAS was the first ambulance service in the country to complete a full scale roll-out of the electronic patient report system in 2011. The initial deployment of the system began at EMAS in 2008.
- EMAS will continue to use the current ePRF system in place while developing the bespoke solution which will align and integrate with the national Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme which is being developed to replace the current Airwaves (radio) communication system.