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Home > EMS Products > Technology
September 29, 2011
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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Patient data collection in the digital age

Biomedical companies are taking steps to start capturing patient data in real time

By Arthur Hsieh

When talking about emergency care, one of the last things we often think about is data collection.

This is especially true during highly emergent calls, such as cardiac arrest, where we spend most of our mental energy trying to understand what is happening during the code, pre-planning our next actions, and otherwise trying to maintain order during the scene chaos.

Only after the code is complete and things wind down do we start organizing what procedures and medications were administered at which times, and in what order. It can get confusing, and estimating times can be tricky.

Additionally, we pull data not only from our memories, but also from the different tools we use, such as the ECG monitor/defibrillator, as well as from other disparate sources of information like the dispatch center.

I think it would be awesome to have a technology that can somehow capture all of this data in real time, and there are steps being taken by biomedical companies to achieve this.

Zoll's CodeNet system and Physio-Control's LifeNet and Code-Stat capture cardiac arrest management information and organizes it into useful data. I'd love to be able to enhance these abilities.

For example, imagine voice recognition software that identifies and time stamps statements like, "Intubation, 8.0, 24cm depth, Paramedic John Smith" instead of tapping a button or screen.

What about an algorithm that determines that the likelihood of occult blood flow exists and notifies the crew to aggressively continue resuscitation efforts? Or a communication network that ties all of the avenues together via a tablet so time intervals, actions, and interventions are record and assimilated in real time?

A crew could determine on the scene whether their activity is optimized for cardiac arrest care, and modify their treatment in case something doesn't appear to be going along to plan.

What do you think? What else can we do to capture rapidly-evolving data, analyze it in real time, and improve our ability to resuscitate victims of sudden cardiac arrest?

About the author

EMS1 Editor in Chief Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. In the profession since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a published textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at a rural hospital-based ALS system. Contact Art at Art.Hsieh@ems1.com.
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