Finding the right electronic patient care reports (ePCR) software for your EMS organization can be a very challenging task. However, doing your due diligence is necessary if you expect to find the right solution that your organization can use. If you’re on the lookout for ePCR software for your organization, here are some critical factors you should consider:
1) NEMSIS Compatibility
The National Emergency Medical Services Information System (NEMSIS) is the national database for storing all EMS data in all US states and territories. It provides a framework for the presentation and storage of ePCR’s and is the standard followed by American EMS providers.
Any EMS ePCR software intended for use by an American EMS organization, whether public or private, should conform to NEMSIS standards. This will allow for seamless information integration between EMS agencies and other healthcare providers, preventing confusion among healthcare workers and insurers who need access to patient records.
2) Cloud-Based Hosting
Hosting an ePCR system on the cloud offers several distinct advantages:
First, cloud-based systems, by far, tend to experience significantly fewer downtime periods when compared to in-house IT infrastructures. When there is downtime, it also tends to be much shorter. This is largely due to the fact that such systems feature multiple redundancies and are maintained by dedicated teams. This is possible because of the economies of scale at which cloud servers operate, which few EMS agencies can match. This means cloud-based systems tend to be more reliable and will present fewer problems.
Second, locally hosted servers can be vulnerable to major calamities. The facilities EMS providers use are not necessarily immune to hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, or major power outages. This can present problems for EMS crews out in the field during such events. By contrast, cloud-based systems are accessible so long as an internet connection is available, which in the case of a major disaster, could be facilitated via satellite or wireless internet.
Third, cloud hosting is almost always more affordable and more scalable compared to a locally hosted system with similar capabilities. This can allow EMS providers to allocate more of their budget for other, more critical areas.
Fourth and last, because of their very nature, cloud-hosted platforms are almost always going to be designed to be mobile-friendly and accessible from multiple platforms with no issues. Given that crews and managers alike are more likely than ever to be using their online tools through phones and tablets, this is a benefit that is going to be felt immediately throughout your organization.
3) CAD Integration
As an EMS provider, your ePCR software needs to be compatible with your current computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system. That’s because it will help ambulance crews and dispatchers communicate more closely and efficiently with each other, saving time, reducing errors and improving the reliability of emergency responses. It can speed up the documentation needed for billing and decrease the time needed for crew members for double data entry.
4) Training and Tech Support
While most ePCR products are fully capable of doing what EMS organizations need, not all of them come with adequate support for users. This means even if you purchase a system that does meet your needs, your employees may not be able to realize its true potential.
The fact is, software has little value if it could not be used effectively. This is especially true when it comes to EMS ePCR systems. If you’ve already narrowed down your choices, try to look into the training and support offered because those could determine how useful your ePCR software could be. Also, make sure to check out if they have online training resources for your employees to access at any time.
5) Report Generation
These days, ePCR software does so many things it’s easy to forget that its primary purpose is to facilitate the generation of reports. Report generation should be as straightforward as possible, and standard reports should only take as few steps as needed. At the same time, the software must allow for the data to be filtered in as many ways as needed so that specific information could easily be found.
It’s important to remember that your choice of ePCR software doesn’t just affect your agency’s bottom line. It can have very real implications for patients as well. An effective EMS ePCR software allows care providers at every step of the care continuum to spend less time sifting through records and more time treating the patient. It also speeds up information transfers between different stakeholders, allowing for more efficient process and more prompt care.