Ilion Fire Department Goes "Paperless"
Ilion, N.Y. - Ilion Fire Department emergency medical technicians recently said good-bye to paperwork. The department as of June 1 received state authorization to operate its two ambulances using emsCharts software to file and record required patient care reports electronically, according to Robert Paddock, deputy fire chief and emergency medical services coordinator. Each ambulance is now equipped with a laptop computer, software, and wires that enable cardiac monitor readings to be read by the computer.
The village paid $9,140 for the two laptops and software costs totaled $2,500, according to Connie Gagliardi, village treasurer. The Ambulance Committee paid $300 for the two wires and $70 for a scanner, she added. Paddock explained the investment, besides making Ilion Fire Department the first “paperless” EMS agency in the tri-county region (including Oneida and Madison), greatly improves efficiency and creates multiple long-term savings opportunities.
With everything going electronic, from databases to patient signatures, EMTs are better able to react to various emergencies, Paddock said.
Instead of filling out a three-part form, with a copy for the department, hospital and state, EMTs use a Web-based program to file reports usually within an hour after leaving the hospital. Before EMTs were sitting at the hospital instead of returning in anticipation of the next call, Paddock explained.
But one of the main benefit is an EMTs’ ability to access patient’s medical information. “I think the best part is having the patient data right away,” Jonathan Boucher, EMT and firefighter, said. “That’s a big game changer. You just get faster and faster as you go,” he added.
In addition to treatment improvements made possible by the technology, the electronic record keeping produces various complementary advantages.
Since the reports are filed instantaneously, billing is now daily, Paddock said. Previously the department had to wait about a week to reduce mailing costs, and now there are no mailing costs. Moreover, the insurance company has a reduced rate for departments that file electronically and use the program, according to Paddock, who declined to give an exact amount.
Of course, the department also realizes savings and efficiencies by getting rid of paper. Paddock said within seven years, which is the requisite time frame for retaining paper files, Ilion’s EMS will have no more paper. “We’ve got boxes of it downstairs,” he said, referring to the reports on file.
Ultimately, filing paperwork electronically is a national trend, Paddock said, with several states already mandating agencies adhere to regulations. “This helps us to stay out ahead,” he added.
About emsCharts Inc:
EmsCharts provides dynamic electronic data collection and management solutions for the emergency medical field. Our suite of products gives air medical and ground emergency medical services the advantage of mobile access to web-based data collection applications at the total lowest cost of ownership.