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Emergency Medical Services, Collaboration, and the New Healthcare Equation

Author: Kurt Steward, Vice President, Infor Public Sector

Copyright: 9-1-1 Magazine, Feature Content

Date: 2015-05-13
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The lines between healthcare and the public sector continue to blur within the United States. As the provisions of the Affordable Care Act become a reality, the adaptation of new technologies for Emergency Medical Service (EMS) organizations will begin to play a larger role in bending the healthcare cost curve. The changing part that paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMT) play in the health of our communities is now ever more critical than in years past. In this new equation, EMS organizations are more likely to have an opportunity to serve as a conduit between each facet of the shifting healthcare system. To better illustrate this point, below are two key predictions that EMS organizations will face this year and beyond, whether government-based, non-profit, or private.

Cog in the Healthcare Wheel

Paramedics and the EMS organizations for which they work are a natural extension of the traditional healthcare system. This extension has already begun to play itself out with the increased adoption of mobile integrated healthcare programs. One of the key components that makes these types of partnerships successful is information sharing, particularly, in a secure manner that improves patient care, controls costs, and advances collaboration. This is especially important for the new payment model for certain types of insurance. As these bundled payments likely make their way into the EMS payment model, more information will be required to allocate funds appropriately. Providers across the care continuum, including EMS organizations, will need to be able to capture the true costs of their systems – not just charges. Ultimately, this enhanced data will allow for better cost control as each element of a procedure is captured and analyzed—and with complete access to patients’ history, providers will be able to collaborate on care of mutual patients.

 

Adaptation of New Technologies

EMS organizations will begin to consider technology solutions that provide integration with clinical and claims information in a secure manner. The integration should link human workflow, ensuring consistent, closed-loop processes, while also connecting to vendors and health information exchanges. Ultimately, the adopted technology solutions will improve adherence to regulations, aid in the management of staffing the operations, and provide visibility into the best value options for patient care. The cloud will play an important role. Cloud computing, combined with thin client terminal devices, will provide a working environment with a significantly reduced risk of data breaches. Multiple layers of tracking technologies can help control costs, reduce waste, and track assets. Integration of disparate application systems, including clinical, asset management, human resources, and finance, will provide a much broader view of the global environment, allowing for full review of procedures. Finally, predictive analytics, utilizing information available in the health information exchanges, will present best practices to providers in their workflow, in real time, giving the patients the best possible care.

 

Dr. Kurt A. Steward is a Vice President at Infor Public Sector, where he focuses on go-to-market planning and development, product enhancement and expansion opportunities, and strategic market analyses.  He also has over ten years of experience in local government management, including administration, public safety, and streets and transportation.  He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Ball State University and Master of Public Administration and Ph.D. degrees from The University of Texas at Dallas.

For more information on Infor Public Sector, see www.infor.com/industries/publicsector/

Photo: 9-1-1 Magazine archives (Jul 2003 issue)

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