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Home News-Telegram News EMS implements final upgrades in software, training; improvements cover ‘latest in science’

EMS implements final upgrades in software, training; improvements cover ‘latest in science’

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Hopkins County Emergency Medical Services this week is putting its communications operators through an advanced class to improve their dispatch skills, and will implement the final phase of computer system upgrades in the hospital’s call center.

Currently 15 dispatchers, including the ambulance service’s shift supervisors and three paramedics who fill in at the dispatch center as needed are taking the class, taught by Ken Hotaling, training consultant with   Priority Dispatch of Salt Lake City, Utah. Hotaling will teach them protocols to use with the latest upgrade to the hospital’s computer automated dispatch, or CAD, system, according to Russell VanBibber, communications supervisor for the hospital’s EMS.

Hotaling said Hopkins County EMS is in the process of implementing the industry’s foremost 9-1-1 dispatch call system approved by National Academy of Emergency Dispatchers (NAED) and created by Priority Dispatch Inc.

“This system is used in 26 countries and has a successful track record of use for over 25 years,” Hotaling explained.

VanBibber said some of the upgrades cover new child CPR instructions, as well as choking and pregnancy protocols.

“This is version 12, the latest in science associated with the protocols,” VanBibber said. “There are 33 protocols, which cover all complaints they will receive.”

Dispatchers will study a set of questions, and each patient will get the same consistent treatment on each call, VanBibber explained.

“We’ve been using this program, CAD, since 1999. In addition to instruction, we also get software to add to the CAD system. This makes dispatch completely electronic — from charting to dispatch, it’s in the computer.”

Hotaling said the software “gives dispatchers an effective and structured method of quickly gathering critical emergency call information, identifying life-threatening situations, giving critical responses and routing calls to appropriate help.”

In addition to make the dispatch more efficient it should also make the process more thorough, training communications operators to be the “first first responders,” they explained.

People calling in a medical emergency will probably find that the dispatchers, following the protocols, will be asking what may seem like lots of questions. But all are designed not only to better prepare the first responders and paramedics making the emergency calls, but also to help the caller give basic care until help arrives.

“It’s important to know they’re going to be asking questions, which won’t delay response times, and people should please stay on the line with the dispatcher,” Hotaling said. “Don’t hang up. They are getting important information to better help the patient and responder.”

The hospital’s dispatch center has gradually been adding updates to its system over the past few years. The addition of the software and training is the final stage of the process, VanBibber noted.




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