7 eye-catching EMS products and services
The Pinnacle EMS conference featured about 40 vendors offering up-and-coming products and services for EMS leaders
By Josh Weiss
Unless you own an ambulance company, you may not be familiar with the Pinnacle EMS conference coordinated by Fitch and Associates. The conference brings together executives from ambulance services across the nation to talk about the state of the EMS industry and upcoming trends. Field employees and mid-level management are nowhere to be found.
This year the conference was held just 10 minutes from my home in Scottsdale, Ariz., so I decided to attend. The sessions were interesting, and the exhibit hall featured about 40 — the number was purposely kept small, but the price for each booth was high because of the attending audience.
I walked through and talked to several vendors with the hopes of learning how their products and services would affect field employees. Here's some of what I saw that might soon be coming to an ambulance operation near you.
1. Patient surveys
There were a handful of vendors offering survey services of patients and customers to help ambulance companies make improvements and increase stats. RSQ911 Solutions uses a strategy where crews hand each patient/family a card with a special number to track the transport and response.
EMS Survey Team takes an approach where patients are contacted after the incident by phone or email around the time when a bill is sent. Both scenarios aim to drill directly down to the caregivers and help determine how each crew member performed on a customer service level, not just a clinical level.
2. Training and behavior modification
FitResponder works with agencies to help stop the cycle of bad habits by teaching simplified techniques such as simple stretches that can help reduce workplace injuries. It’s very cost effective for agencies, so expect to see more efforts to improve workplace safety by encouraging proper habits for daily work functions.
3. Technology updates
InMotion Technologies by Sierra Wireless is a company that improves the internet/communication backbone between the ambulance, dispatch, and health care facilities. Basically they’re trying to end the issue that crews experience when the telemedicine equipment can’t get a signal or loses connection.
The communication tech box is built into the ambulance and is designed to keep the information flow constantly open and moving. It works with your equipment regardless of the maker, and includes Bluetooth connections.
4. Inventory tracking
Operative IQ is trying to simplify the inventory process by making it paperless. The electronic method allows crews to instantly request restocking, and creates a record of the request that alerts managers to the product need. Each crew member can be on separate devices doing different shelves for the same vehicle at the same time.
The program also tracks expiration dates so that crews don’t need to do it manually, and allows them to open vehicle maintenance work tickets. It’s a great way to document that a crew member reported an issue, and eliminates any blame if something that was properly reported has a stop gap.
5. Deployment tracking tools
InterMedix helps managers track, analyze and understand employee and ambulance utilization. The idea is that by better understanding human fatigue issues, managers can create a better deployment and process that benefits the company, employees and patients.
6. Improved dispatch technology
Medlert is a mobile app that allows facility nurses and case managers to directly request transports, bypassing the dispatch center and submitting their own face sheets within the app.
Another company that caught my attention was Medapoint, whose product makes it possible for crews to assign themselves to different GT transports, rather than having dispatch assign each transport. Medapoint also recently announced a partnership with TomTom GPS for CAD and AVL integration.
Related to the dispatch center, Atrus was another interesting company from a community involvement perspective, and offers an add-on to the normal dispatch process. When a cardiac arrest occurs, the Atrus database looks for registered AEDs located nearby an incident and then “dispatches” trained community responders at the same time that the EMS crew is dispatched. Dispatch can also track who confirmed that they are responding with the AED and alert crews en route.
7. Software and equipment
Several ePCR companies were offering demos, as were many back-end, cloud-based software solutions (with various modules like billing, scheduling, HR, certifications, etc.). One new piece of equipment you may not have heard of from Advanced Circulatory Systems Inc. was promoting Intrathoracic Pressure Regulation (IPR) therapy, which is enhanced negative pressure for someone in shock or cardiac arrest.
Many of the vendors I spoke with said that Pinnacle EMS is a valuable show for them since it’s attended primarily by company leaders and decision makers. Only time will tell if these new products and services will affect you in the field.