Technology developed in Duluth will help save lives in New York City
Technology developed in Duluth will soon help save lives on the streets of New York City. The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) has signed a contract with ScanHealth to use the company's system to record and retrieve data for its emergency medic...
Technology developed in Duluth will soon help save lives on the streets of New York City.
The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) has signed a contract with ScanHealth to use the company's system to record and retrieve data for its emergency medical service calls.
The FDNY's 911 system receives 1.3 million calls a year and responds to 600,000 of those.
Starting in June, when FDNY EMS personnel respond to a call, they will carry with them a clip board and forms created here in Duluth by ScanHealth to record information about the call, including the person's name, address, condition and other details gathered at the scene. When the person is transported to a hospital or another care facility, the emergency service technician provides staff there with a copy of the ScanHealth report. Another copy goes back to one of the 30 FDNY station battalions and is scanned into a computer and the paper copy can be discarded.
Authorized personnel can access information for each FDNY call. That data can be analyzed, to see if proper protocol has been followed, statistical information can be gathered and the form can be used for billing purposes.
"Our pre-hospital care report meets all needs," said Tim Hakamaki, ScanHealth vice president for EMS. "It provides information for emergency rooms and documents the treatment provided. It meets the state's requirement and they can bill off of this."
ScanHealth has been developing data retrieval systems for about seven years in Duluth and was the first tenant to move into the Technology Center in 1999. Originally designed as a system for home health care workers to record information on site visits, the company branched out to EMS customers, and now some of the largest ambulance operators in the country are ScanHealth clients.
But three years ago, the EMS division of ScanHealth was just beginning and company CEO Dale Pearson found himself in New York pitching his technology to the FDNY.
"We had a friend who knew a friend who made the connection for us," Pearson said. Because of the volume of calls coming through its system, the FDNY's paper system of data collection needed to be updated, Pearson said. The delay in analysis also prevented the department from responding quickly if procedures needed to be changed to help save lives, he said.
The FDNY agreed to a trial, and the ScanHealth system was put in place in the two fire department battalions located closest to the World Trade Towers. That was in August 2001. When the Sept. 11 bombings occurred, the ScanHealth system "worked beautifully," Hakamaki said.
John Clair, New York's assistant commissioner for emergency medicine, said the ScanHealth system is a progressive step for the department -- one that will save costs as well as update an outdated, paper-based system.
"ScanHealth will give us a method to automate the collection of patient care reports and associated data," Clair said. "We believe the scannable report is a smooth and functional transition in the EMS environment."
ScanHealth will begin FDNY training in June and hopes to have the entire 3,000 employees online with its system within the year.