Big data is changing the future of the healthcare industry. Healthcare providers are projected to spend over $58 billion on big data analytics by 2028.
Healthcare organizations benefit from collecting greater amounts of data on their patients and service partners. However, data management is just as important. Smart healthcare providers are using ePCRs to facilitate data management.
ePCRs Help Healthcare Providers Manage Patient Data
Since they were widely introduced, Electronic Patient Care Reports (ePCR) systems have proven to be one of the most vital assets available to emergency medical service (EMS) providers. These systems have dramatically cut down the amount of paperwork for EMTs, paramedics, and other EMS personnel. More importantly, they have empowered EMS operations to save more lives with fewer resources by better organizing patient data.
However, most ePCR software have been around for decades and require an update. To date, some software developers specializing in ePCR for ambulance services have come up with many innovative updates, following the larger trends of big data, secure cloud hosting, and customizations, to name a few. If it’s been a while since your organization acquired its current ePCR solution, an upgrade is likely going to give you substantial benefits.
That said, not all ePCRs for ambulance services are made equal. To truly benefit from an upgrade, it’s worth considering these things before upgrading your system with an ePCR to manage patient data better. This is a way for emergency services to use data to improve patient care.
1.) NEMSIS and HIPAA compliance
The healthcare sector has to take data security and privacy very seriously. All ePCR software sold in the US needs to be compliant with the National Emergency Medical Services Information System (NEMSIS) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Additionally, the vendor maintaining the software should have a good track record of maintaining compliance with both federal and state requirements. This will help your organization avoid potential legal issues related to the handling of sensitive patient data.
2.) Appropriate Customization Levels
Earlier generations of ePCR software for ambulance services still had plenty of kinks to work out, particularly in their customization features. For one thing, it was often too easy or too difficult to create data fields, with either situation causing all kinds of problems from errors and difficulty completing ePCRs to fraud and false claims. Thankfully, this problem has been solved with newer ePCR solutions, such as the one offered by Traumasoft. Whichever solution you do choose, it’s important that it could be customized to meet your organization’s needs while still maintaining the required standards for data security.
To address all issues with scalability, EMS providers should consider ePCR solutions hosted on cloud servers. Cloud-hosted solutions not only eliminate the need to maintain onsite servers and a large IT team, but they also tend to be less expensive to use and offer superior uptimes compared to most traditional locally-hosted solutions. Cloud hosting also simplifies operations for EMS organizations that are located in multiple geographic areas.
4.) Requires Minimal Training to Use
Given the lifesaving mission of EMS, onboarding users to a new system should not be something that uses up too much time and resources. If you’re going to choose a new ePCR solution, a functional one that’s easier to use and requires less training is usually a better pick than a fully-featured one that gives users a hard time.
5.) Vendor Reputation
Before going through with any big purchase, it’s important to check the vendor’s reputation. It’s no different when you buy ePCR systems or any other kind of essential software. Doing your homework helps you understand the level of service you can expect should something go wrong or should you desire any customization. And, as mentioned earlier, learning more about the vendor can also give you an idea of how well they maintain legal requirements and standards.
6.) Enables Seamless Data Standardization
Ideally, data documentation and formats should be standard throughout an organization. In practice, this is not always possible because of the specific needs of different departments of EMS organizations. Unfortunately, this situation can lead to a lot of accuracy problems when consolidating data for reports or data.
Thankfully, current ePCR solutions enable ambulance crews, back-office workers, and other stakeholders to easily draw data from one system. This removes the need for manual data wrangling and vastly improves data transparency and accuracy. Additional time savings could also be gained, thanks to the straightforward automation this standardization allows.
7.) UX Is Optimized for Field Conditions
One of the issues EMS providers had with first-generation ePCR solutions was the poor user experience (UX) for ambulance crews. Paramedics and EMTs work under very different conditions from personnel working in the station or back office. Given the practical constraints faced by ambulance crews, the relatively crude UX design of older software often-times led to frustration with ePCR systems and its underutilization.
Current systems that have addressed most of these problems are thus better suited for the common challenges faced by EMS workers. The improved UX also allows the organization to reap the full benefits of its ePCR solutions.
ePCRs Are Crucial for Managing Data in Healthcare Organizations
Vendors focused on ePCR for ambulance services now understand the needs of EMS providers better than they did a decade ago. This is an important part of using big data for healthcare providers. As a result, modern ambulance ePCR solutions are easier to use, more resistant to fraudulent activity, and enable a wider degree of synergy within the organization and with insurance providers. All of these translate to very real benefits for ambulance crews, healthcare stakeholders, and the communities served by EMS organizations.