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technology was finally embraced, the initial result was huge expenditures for company-owned devices that quickly became outdated.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
daleloberger
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
It only takes one bad story like this: http://www.emsworld.com/video/12029267/philadelphia-paramedic-in-hot-water-over-anti-police-image to make the public question a whole service (or even incite violence.) If your service doesn't already have a social networking presence, how can you effectively counter such bad media? You need to engage before problems arise in order to have credibility and a voice when…
2014-12-18 13:51:43
Mark
How To Perform CPR: The Crucial Steps You Should Know (and Share!)
The majority of people who survive a cardiac arrest are resuscitated from ventricular fibrillation (VF) by the administration of a defibrillatory shock. This is most likely to be successful when it is given very soon after the onset of VF; emergency service personnel are often unable to arrive soon enough to help a victim. Automated…
2014-12-16 17:32:19
daleloberger
Economic Efficiency
No one is going to challenge the idea of "rationing healthcare" with the idea that "any expense is worthwhile if it saves just one life"? Good to see we are beyond that logic.
2014-12-15 21:58:08
Fore Thoughts of EMS Today 2015 | High Performance EMS
A Country EMS in The Big City
[…] the opportunity to ride along with a BCFD crew and documented that experience in the post “A Country EMS in the Big City” that year. The next year, I got to experience EMS Today in DC along with the much hyped […]
2014-12-11 05:08:13
Jordan Collins
System Status Management (SSM)
We were punished for "late response times" by being exiled from our quarters overnight and placed on street corners. We had high morale; we would play basketball and football, as well as making potluck dinners once a rotation. Morale was at an all-time high, quarters and the trucks were kept cleaned and polished. Fast forward…
2014-12-10 15:50:18

Dale Loberger's Discussions


Follow Dale Loberger

FireEMS Blogs eNewsletter

Sign-up to receive our free monthly eNewsletter

LATEST EMS NEWS

HOT FORUM DISCUSSIONS