A New Danger in EMS?

I read an article this morning where Winnipeg declared Cellphones off limits for firefighters, paramedics with only some surprise. Sure there are the embarrassments like the Texas Firefighter Charged With Taking Secret Bathroom Pics who need to be drummed out of the system. And I understand that new technology can be a scary thing – especially from a legal perspective, but our reaction to any sort of potential change is always predicated by our view of the staff we employ. If staff are viewed only as automatons, they need constant micromanagement even at the most basic level. If they are viewed as professionals, they need only to understand the tools they have, the overall mission they are given, the latitude of their autonomy, and the impact of their misjudgment.

Businesses in the private sector have struggled for many years over the risk and rewards of giving employees increased access to sensitive corporate information from mobile devices. Once the technology was finally embraced, the initial result was huge expenditures for company-owned devices that quickly became outdated. As a result, many organizations have now embraced a BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) policy to leverage the employee’s willingness and need to provide current mobile technology for use outside of the office. While it certainly increases the workload for corporate IT professionals to support and secure these devices, it has been determined that the improved productivity, increased job satisfaction, and in some cases even lowered equipment cost outweigh the investment. The risk of exposure is still there, but when employees are properly treated as professionals they become empowered allies instead of floating liabilities. In some ways the case is much easier for EMS.

In the EMS setting, there are countless objects, many provided inside an ambulance, that can harm a patient if they are misused or mistreated. However, when they are used properly many of these same tools can mean an improved outcome for the patient or even the organization. What makes the application different in either case is an implicit trust in the knowledge of the professional in applying it properly. Recently, I have posted links on some uses of smartphones in EMS including Using an iPhone to detect ear infections. Just today another post from my paramedic friend Greg Friese shared his slide set on Integrating Smartphones and Tablet Devices into EMS Education from EMS World Expo. Another paramedic friend named Chris Matthews maintains a blog site called The Unwired Medic specifically to share useful applications of mobile technology. Whole businesses have sprung up to provide mobile applications for continuing education during downtime in the station or at a post as well as references to be used during a call. Check out the Smartphones offer valuable, versatile tool article for many more uses.

The problem isn’t allowing another new device in the EMS setting, it is in establishing the mission, boundaries, and implications of improper use of whatever that new tool might be. There are all sorts of potential problems with tools, but banning a potentially useful tool because of an employee trust issue is just a sign of deeper problems within the organization.

2 Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

background image Blogger Img

High Performance EMS

High Performance Emergency Medical Services (HP-EMS) systems provide effective clinical care promoting positive patient outcomes and community wellness while maintaining a focus on improving economic efficiency of the system.  This site is dedicated as a community seeking to increase agency performance by promoting useful information regarding the developing trends and improvements in the efficiency of delivering basic and advanced medical care in the field.

JEMS Talk: Google Hangout

Comments
Brett Snow
We Need Some New Stories
I have been in the fire/ems service for 26 years and was the youngest certified paramedic in the State of Nevada at the time I began. I learned from the best and never became an "SOP" paramedic. I treated my patients with knowledge gained from personal experience and lessons learned from myself as well as…
2015-03-19 16:18:54
EJS
Did You Watch ‘Nightwatch’ Last Night?
What they said is pretty much true. Medics do the majority of things the er will do. I do ems and lots of time in an er. The er for about 90% of pts er will do the same stuff ems will do except just having a doctor tell the pt they are healthy. Yes…
2015-03-12 22:00:54
Thomas Roberts
Impressions of the Ferno iN/X
We've done some pretty substantial research on offerings from both Stryker and Ferno. What we've found is information that is both in line and conflicting with some of the prior comments on this page. The Stryker power cot is a heavier device in comparison to their old manual cots, however you can't compare the Stryker…
2015-03-04 09:13:07
WES
Impressions of the Ferno iN/X
Anybody know the price of the new ferno system?
2015-02-12 20:36:38
Paul
Is ‘SSM’ Still a ‘Bad Idea’?
I think that the majority of you that talk about a unit sitting on a dirty street corner for 12 hrs at a time don't realize that if they are doing that, the system doesn't need SSM.
2015-02-05 09:33:18

Dale Loberger's Discussions


Follow Dale Loberger

FireEMS Blogs eNewsletter

Sign-up to receive our free monthly eNewsletter

LATEST EMS NEWS

HOT FORUM DISCUSSIONS