The first challenge was the quality and accuracy of data verbally taken from patients by call center operators and written down on paper, the second was that all the data then had to be manually entered into a facility computer by a person from administration who was not initially involved in the collection process, which inevitably meant inconsistencies occurred, and the third problem was that this approach meant it was practically impossible to gather statistical data that could be analyzed and evaluated for research purposes.
"Our dispatching center is the vital link between citizens who are in need of emergency care and medical response teams," said Dr. Nenad Aracki, chief of the Institute for Emergency Medical Service. "The process in place was out of date, burdensome and directly impacting the ability of employees to do their jobs effectively."
Through an application developed by Microsoft Gold Certified Partner CPU, patients’ calls arrive automatically, providing the caller's name, address and phone number to the responding operator along with call history and detailed information about the patient's previous calls. The operator can then enter patient data into the application, supported by Lync 2010, give the patient call a priority (1: red, 2: yellow, 3: green), and determine if the police or fire department need to be dispatched.
If a caller's emergency is a matter of life or death, the operator can distribute information within three to five seconds, and if callers want to know the status of an intervention in progress, they can get an answer.
"We managed to shorten certain time parameters, specifically the call center response time," Aracki said. "As we receive more than 650 calls on a daily basis, any savings in time is valuable. Now the operator can receive and distribute any information with just a few mouse clicks and within seconds."
CPU also developed an application for EMS based on Lync 2010 that records the exact time when a call is initiated, how long it lasts, how long it takes for information to be distributed to the field unit, when the responders arrive at the patient's location and the length of time of the medical intervention.
"Since the majority of our patients suffer from chronic diseases, they call frequently," said Dr. Srdjan Cobanov, chief of the dispatching center. "This new system enabled us to go through previous patient calls, and now it is easier for our dispatchers to diagnose, triage and send the EMS team to that patient."
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