The positive evolution of data integration

Three bi-directional ways that data integration will positively impact the EMS industry


It’s fair to say that there’s a lot going on within our industry, and the next decade will likely show no signs of slowing down in terms of progress.

A lot of what we count on – establish benchmarks toward – is founded off of data, but we’re only just beginning to tap into what our industry has to track, share and learn from regarding it. Over the next decade, data integration – especially bi-directional data sharing – will help to shape our industry as it truly transforms into a mobile integrated healthcare data profession.

Data from our equipment, to our reporting software

Over the next decade, data integration – especially bi-directional data sharing – will help to shape our industry as it truly transforms into a mobile integrated healthcare data profession.
Over the next decade, data integration – especially bi-directional data sharing – will help to shape our industry as it truly transforms into a mobile integrated healthcare data profession. (Photo/Getty Images)

We’re already seeing this with many vendors: cardiac monitors “talking” via Bluetooth to tablets, tablets “talking” to PCR software. As we move into 2020 – and even toward 2030 – I envision this to be just the beginning.

Vehicles will share data with computers and mechanical staff. Body cameras will share data with PCR software. PCR software will populate in dashboards and displays at receiving facilities, in real time.

This technology is out there and currently in use by some EMS agencies, but not to the extent that it will be over the next decade, and not to the level of importance and integration that it has the full potential for.

Data from our reporting software, to end-users

Hospital pre-notification – by more than “just” a phone call – will become the standard practice in the future. All components of technology pieces will communicate to reporting software and PCR platforms, and then onto end-users. And most importantly, these end-users will communicate back!

As you’re typing your PCR, or as you narrate to your onboard “Alexa,” your information will populate into hospital notification dashboards and electronic health records (EHR – the equivalent of our PCR). In turn, as lab results populate in the EHR, physicians narrate their care, and ECGs stream into the patient’s record, you’ll also receive this information in the form of quality assurance and follow-up status reports. In three hours, you’ll receive a notification that your patient was discharged from the emergency department, or admitted to the ICU.

Data from our end users, to EMS administrators

Live, real-time quality will become the focus of the future. As you receive follow-up information from the receiving hospital via your PCR or other communication platform, your agency’s quality assurance staff will also receive data to compile reports for notification validation and reliability, first medical contact-to-balloon times, and EMS IV fluid administration as it incorporates into the hospital’s total fluid resuscitation plan for your septic patient.

As this data populates on your administrative staff’s end, total tracking and feedback reports will then be generated for supervisors, field training officers, and individual crew members to receive as a tracking and trending report of their own – or subordinates’ – work. This immediate feedback will allow crew members to continue their best practices, adjust any areas needing improvement, and even share discussion notes with other crew members related to their call, that same day.

Information will be shared – in both directions – fairly instantaneously and data will be tracked in real-time ... not days, weeks, or months later. Software platforms will communicate with each other so that faxes and emails will become obsolete for feedback. Reports will be generated in a structured form – rather than its raw form – and in a manner that is both presentable and easily understood.

Our industry – profession – will truly become one that incorporates mobile integrated healthcare data.

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