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Administration & Leadership, EMS

Move up or move over

In a recent post I mentioned my service is using CAD data to monitor just how busy the EMS Division is when addressing calls for service.  All of this is gearing up towards a State mandated increase in market share without (so far) an increase in staffing or units available to staff.

 

Knowing how busy you are is crucial in any business, that’s how the supermarket knows how many checkers they should need at 5pm.  Yet you’ve never seen all 24 check stands open have you?  There is a buffer built into most operations, a surge capacity if you will, that anticipates a need for more than the usual compliment of people and supplies.

 

Trying to anticipate that surge is the job of our in house statistician.  Yes, we have one.  She determines the need, designs the staffing models and anticipates surge.  She’s the one who says we need 19 ambulances on Friday night, not 18.  her models are all built on her understanding of how the system reacts to calls for service.

 

She and I have many conversations where I explain EMS systems and she explains stats and we slowly come down to realize we’re using the same word to describe 2 different things.  The wife and I have this problem all the time.

 

We’re both tearing through data looking to find where we can squeeze another 10% of the market share of responses out of an already taxed system.  We’re looking at what we’re calling the logistics gap, or when a rig is staffed but not available for a call because they are getting checked out or returning to base close to the end of shift.

We’re also looking at their posting patterns or lack thereof) to determine if we really are sending the right unit to cover a post.  Maybe we could move someone else and save time, fuel and misery?

We’re also looking at the way we use our non ambulance EMS resources, our engines and Captains to maximize the availability of transport resources.

In a perfect world, my regulator will change one sentence in their policies and I can flex 3 more non emergent transport vehicles already deployed into service.  Change one more sentence and we can better serve the homeless population while simultaneously drastically decreasing ED overcrowding.  I have said before, EMS holds the key to ED overcrowding.  So many solutions are just waiting for the 40 year old rules to change.  But proving that those rules need to be changed has to be supported with data that can be confirmed, recreated, and stamped approved by someone who knows what that means.  I am not that guy.  But I know who is.

 

There is no switch to flip to make it work better, we all know that, but I have a good relationship with the people who do the wiring.  Our dispatch data folks, the Dept data folks, the statistician, everyone has been very receptive when I came in asking for our police designed CAD to spit out EMS metrics.

 

You can sit in the cab and complain and I can sit in an office and complain but until we provide solutions that will work and can be verified, we will continue to stagnate as a profession, content with the status quo because no one is stepping forward to help us.

You are the change your system is looking for.  Get involved or get your bags packed.  I’ve got 18 years left and I’m not taking them sitting down.

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3 Comments

  1. Rich shortall November 19, 2012 7:31 pm

    My way or the highway……heard that before

  2. Justin Schorr November 27, 2012 8:42 pm

    Rich, less “My way or the highway” and more of a “can we get this thing in gear?” Fear of change isn’t a policy position any more than the highway comment is. My ideas are open to scrutiny, but a “we tried that 30 years ago” approach will never help. We need new ideas, fresh thinking, old ways made new again. It can work if we know how to measure it!

    Thanks for reading,
    HM

  3. Tj January 27, 2013 1:34 am

    Do you have a staff suggestion scheme? My service has just introduced one with a small incentive for successful suggestions. This way staff are incentivised to introduce innovation. Increased efficiencies fund the reward.

    Win/win!

    Tj

    @meditude

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