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I came across a dispatch center that Dispatches EMS Calls. Dispatches are one building to another.
Information in dispatches is basic. Times, location, complaint, receiving ER, responding unit etc.

The ‘Old way’

Calls were hand written on paper and faxed to the EMS base.
Each sheet of paper contained 5 ‘runs’. A fax was sent after each call, thus each side of each sheet of paper was faxed to the EMS base 5 times.

We found that faxes were lost (mostly on the EMS end) other medics ended up with the faxed sheet, faxes were illegible and EMS ended up waiting for Dispatch to fax the sheet.

Of course there is the time and resources considerations also.

The ‘New way’

A Google Documents spreadsheet was set up with columns representing the necessary ‘run’ fields. Information for each EMS call is entered in each row.

Naturally Dispatch has the EMS sheet running (in a Google Chrome Application Window) 24/7 for the easy input of information.
A number of computers at the EMS base have the window running all the time also.

The sheet isn’t necessarily ‘public’ but available to anyone with the lengthily address.

The instant information is entered into the EMS Spreadsheet at the Dispatch desk this information is made available, through the Spreadsheet, to other viewers.

As the call progresses Dispatch enters the information, keeping it all fresh, up to date and cutting down on any waiting that EMS would have to do for their information.

Each month a new, blank, ‘Active Sheet’ is created and the previous month is semi-archived as another sheet in the Workbook and labeled appropriately for reference and billing purposes.

The sheet gives both Dispatch and EMS employees quick reference to a number of recent and currently working calls.

To further archive EMS calls dispatch prints the monthly logs. With the Google Documents Sheet there are 25 calls per sheet of paper instead of 5.

Information contained in the Google Documents Spreadsheet is transmitted over the EMS Radio and no ‘private’ information is given, keeping the information in line with current HIPAA and Privacy Laws.

Further  possibilities include use of this Sheet mobily on Equipment laptops and smart phones, giving EMS live, up to date, written reference to both their calls and where other units are and what they’re doing.

Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
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