Emergency Medical Dispatch services rely on different tools to fulfill timely and practical assistance to patients requiring emergency care. These tools and equipment range from communications equipment that disseminates patient information between first responders in a disaster incident, vehicles for transportation such as helicopters and ambulances, and medical equipment, including heart monitors and defibrillators. In the same respect, patients depend on effective and quick communication systems, which give them ways to ask for assistance and indicate that the care they need is on its way.
Technological development has led to more innovation in the quick but deliberate delivery of emergency medical dispatch services. Automatic crash notification (ACN) is a technology that signals emergency responders a warning when a car crash has taken place. There are now devices that sound off when ambulance drivers are driving unsteadily or unsafely. Advanced systems are developing to allow pre-hospital emergency medical dispatch personnel to gather complete patient records and replace them with electronic data submission.
Improvement in the Emergency Medical Dispatch Services
Most emergency medical services systems lack resources and equipment to reinforce long-overdue upgrades. A significant part of the communications equipment used by most ambulances today was still purchased in the ’70s.
Valuable investments such as reforming infrastructure to support electronic health record systems, enhancing data communications capabilities, and modernizing emergency dispatch voice-overs are needed to improve the system altogether. However, not all emergency dispatch providers can agree that sophisticated and newer tools rightly equates to more effective patient care.
The Development of 9-1-1
Before 911, the USA had designed a seven-digit telephone number for people to call during emergencies. It became a monumental advancement for the US emergency care system when a single, nationwide number was implemented and made available during emergencies. It was back then, in 1967, that a presidential commission finally suggested a uniform number to connect to emergency response agencies. The following year, the government announced the 9-1-1 emergency services as the emergency code throughout the United States.
9-1-1 service allows callers to contact an emergency dispatcher. However, the updated 9-1-1 now has an added feature that enables dispatchers to determine the callers’ location and telephone numbers through fixed telephone lines.
The Impact of Wireless Technology
Due to the ever-evolving discoveries of wireless technology, an estimated one-third of 9-1-1 calls are now coming from cellphones. Continuous breakthroughs are made to ensure that emergency callers’ locations are identified. The telecommunications industry’s observance to an enhanced 9-1-1 system abets the tracking of cellular calls’ location that occurs in two phases.
Phase one requires carriers to supply the needed technology that permits emergency dispatchers to automatically receive the caller’s wireless phone number. Phase one is critical in the scene, especially when the wireless phone call is on hold or dropped, leaving emergency medical dispatchers to collaborate with the wireless company to check and confirm the wireless subscriber. Phase one transmits the cell tower’s location handling the call, sending the call to a public safety answering point based on cell site information.
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
Emergency medical services are increasingly transitioning to alternative communications services, which discloses issues for the 9-1-1 system. Voice over Internet Protocol permits customers to make telephone calls through a computer network or the Internet.
VoIP translates the voice signal from the telephone to the digital signal that advances over the Internet, then translates back again at the other end so that customers can communicate to anyone with a regular phone number. This innovative type of communication service has its safety concerns similar to wireless calls regarding emergency notification.
Next Generation 9-1-1
Different departments and companies across industries are now taking the initiative to impose the traditional 9-1-1 infrastructures to the 21st-century communications technology. The investment will help establish the 9-1-1 system in harmony with the communication device compatible with a wireless environment.
Equipment for Emergency Response
As soon as the public safety answering point is notified of the needed aid, the emergency dispatcher must arrange the right personnel to respond. They must mobilize a rescue vehicle, an ambulance with paramedics, or an air ambulance with additional EMS personnel carrying other necessary equipment. Emergency medical dispatchers must know firsthand whether ground or air ambulance is needed for the emergency. It is the emergency dispatchers’ default inclination to anticipate that ground ambulance is highly mandatory. Air ambulances are not commonly used until an emergency responder on the ground, such as an emergency medical technician, first responder, and the police, have confirmed the imperative need.
Advances in Medical Technologies
Advanced systems are now available in the commercial market. Emerging communications technologies are now leading the path for video links and real-time voice between emergency physicians and ambulance crews. Established cities now have ambulances packed with video cameras, computers, and microphones, which serves as a convenient addition to conveying the physicians’ relevant information. This technology buys the physician the right time to witness the patient, assess the injury, and govern the treatment option while the patient is still on the way.
The attempt to develop health information technology focuses on the upgrades in terms of the efficiency, effectiveness, and safety of health care interventions. The aim is to connect every relevant provider so that patient data and patient hand-offs are seamless. Therefore, an improved interface must be developed between electronic hospital records and electronic patient records to transmit real-time information.