COLONIE – For nearly a decade, Colonie EMS has worked to install new information management systems in all of its ambulances. Last week, it was announced the organization finally updated its capabilities to provide better patient care, and make initial analysis easier for paramedics and doctors.
A tablet computer can now be found in each ambulance, with GPS capabilities for dispatcher tracking. As an ambulance is en route to the hospital with a patient, all vital signs and patient data can be sent to the hospital via electronic or paper fax before arrival.
“We’ve worked tirelessly to put together this project, and it finally went on the road yesterday,” said Colonie EMS Chief Peter Berry. “This management system is pretty unique, and we will be one of the few communities in Albany County that has these capabilities.”
The announcement was made by town officials at an event held on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
“Public safety has always been a top priority in Colonie,” said Supervisor Paula Mahan, adding the new system will be one more thing to work toward that goal. “Our EMS has an outstanding record. It has many times been recognized nationally, and it is known throughout the country for its excellence of superb quality care.”
The new system was demonstrated by Colonie EMS Capt. Chris Kostyun and Capt. Paul Sugrue.
The system was installed into 12 ambulances and four other vehicles owned by Colonie EMS. It cost a little more than $100,000, but Berry said that price was under budget. The town’s police department already has a similar system installed in all of its vehicles.
The town had first looked into purchasing the system about nine years ago, but found it to be too expensive at $300,000. As technology progressed, and with the invention of Cloud data storage, the price dropped to a rate which was feasible for the town.
Dispatchers at the town’s 911 communications center can use the new system to better track which ambulance is closest to a call, and then send the address directly to the tablet screen. Previously, all transmissions went through radio calls. This new way is faster and safer for all involved.
“This type of communication is essential to increase the effectiveness and the response to our residents when they call 911,” said Berry.
The system can also use data from the existing EKG system that measures a patient’s vital signs by plugging the EKG machine into the tablet. A digital file on each patient can be stored by Colonie EMS, which is helpful for those who call frequently for assistance.
Kostyun demonstrated the main tablet screen, which allows EMS crews to tap on an image depicting each body part and then indicate what the problem is through medical charting. They can also indicate what services they provided to the patient. All of the information is stored and can be sent to the hospital beforehand.
“They are able to document all the procedures without writing them down,” Sugrue said. This allows for faster patient analysis. Patient confidentiality is also better protected through the new system by reducing paper and radio transmissions, and with more data backup.
“We’re very proud of all our medics, and Peter Berry is doing a superb job of moving us forward,” said Mahan.