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What First Responders Need in Medical Collaboration Software

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 @ 05:56 PM

In an emergency situation, communication is critical. First responders, at the front lines of any tragedy, need to have access to the most up-to-date technology available in order to give the best possible emergency care.

In countless situations, including during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, lives were lost because the emergency crews at the site were unable to communicate with enough speed and accuracy to those outside the immediate situation.


medical collaboration for first responder training

Medical collaboration software needs to be:

  1. Secure
  2. Focused, fast, and simple
  3. Pictorial for rich and direct communication
  4. Understandable in both the street and operating room

Secure Communication in Emergency Care

Solving the collaboration deficiencies in emergency care will change the way first responders care for emergency victims forever. We can do better than the two way radio. Even in a disaster,  emergency workers' need to communicate securely, and privacy is important when collaborating with hospital staff and other emergency crews, giving them the best possible access to treatment options and patient care.

Focused Communication in Emergencies

Collaboration and communication solutions need to be focused, fast and simple. Everyone involved in a patient's care needs access to the patient's treatment plan. Ideally the program integrates patient information, photos and videos, x-rays and charts, all to facilitate complex care, including multiple visits and multiple opinions. Medical teams should communicate with each other and with the patient about the patient's care in a secure, HIPAA compliant format, through any computer with access to the internet, including some mobile devices.

Pictures for Direct Communication

Complex, high bandwidth devices will not work. And there is not time for struggling through an extensive EHR or EMR. Further, the software should not require any installation, and it should make communication easy, user-friendly and efficient using pictures and video clips. After the event, learning should take place. An extensive archive that is easy to search and can be used for critical self assessment as well as for students, new hires, family members, and coworkers, Since there are no tests in the field, the first responders rely on words, but images offer more. The medical team, from first responder to advanced specialist, should be able first to see what is being talked about, and later, see and compare the same picture and discussion that took place.

Both the Street and the Operating Room

Memory and disagreement will thus be set aside. It is one thing to describe a crush injury in the field and yet another to decide a course of treatment in the sterile and orderly operating room. The system itself needs a disaster recovery plan, so information is securely saved and recoverable at any time. Machines are as sensitive to disaster as humans. Good medical collaboration saves time, money and energy, ensuring patients get the best possible care at the site of an emergency, during a hospital stay, and after they are discharged, resulting in better care, quicker healing times, and fewer return visits. From incident to memory, the most rapid return to normalcy is the goal.  Are we ready?

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Tags: telemedicine, medical collaboration software, disaster response

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