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5 Reasons to Upgrade Your EMS Trucks' Old Flip Phones

By Shane Elmore, RN

I love my job, and I have the privilege of working with some amazing people around the US. But naturally, we are sometimes met with challenges from teams who haven't yet made upgrading their technology a priority. 

Somewhat counterintuitively, it can be especially challenging to convince teams to upgrade when what you're offering them is totally free. For some reason, people think that if they have to buy a fancy new system, it's logical that they would also need to spend a ton of money on making sure that system can run on the best technology. But when we offer them a solution that is just as (actually MORE) powerful but is free, they don't think they need to invest money into the devices that run the software, simply because it's a free tool. 

When talking to EMS agencies, the conversation usually goes something like this: "So, what you're telling me is you can replace the radio report, and reduce the effort it takes for our crews to activate a STEMI or Stroke? You are delivering outstanding value to us and replacing old outdated technology, all while improving treatment times for patients with time-sensitive emergencies for FREE." "Yep, you've got it!" I say. "Well," the prospective customer says. "I can see the value, and this is fantastic! I wished I thought of this. BUT I don't know if we can move forward because we don't have smart phones on our trucks." "You don't have smartphones on your trucks," I ask? "Nope, we have the old flip phones as a backup."

old phone.jpegFor some reason, there are too many EMS agencies that haven't updated their truck phones in years. We created the Pulsara platform to be used on personal devices, but in EMS they tend to be a little hesitant to ask their medics to use their personal devices. For the most part, I get that and I feel that the rationale they use looks out for their employees' best interests, so I'm not here to criticize in any way. I will say that if your agency does not require medics to use their personal devices, you need to provide crew phones for all of your trucks. Here are a few good reasons you to update those Motorola Razr and Nokia phones:

  1. You can keep your protocols on your phone -- With smartphones, you can ensure that all of your medics have the latest CPGs on their person whenever they need them.
  2. Mobile Apps -- There are many mobile applications out there and they are not all created equal. Trust me; it's what we do! Do you know what applications your medics are using on their personal phones? If you provide them with separate smart devices to use on the job, you can ensure that the devices they are using to care for your patients and represent your company do not contain other apps or information that might reflect badly on your company mission, etc. 
  3. It's an additional multi-use tool you can empower your team with -- From drug calculations to extrication the saying holds true, "there is an app for that!"
  4. Contacts are easily stored and accessible in one place -- From Medical Directors to hospital departments, you can ensure that all of your medics have all the right phone numbers they need when they need them.
  5. You always have a way to get ahold of your medics -- They never answer the radio when you need them. Put a phone in their pocket that they will use. You're calling them on their personal phones already when you can't reach them on the radio. You know they don't answer those flip phones from 2005, they just stay on the chargers.

As I meet with EMS agencies across the US, I've never met an EMS Director who said: " I regret updating our crew phones to smartphones." It just doesn't happen. There are so many things you can do with them, and I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. At the end of the day, it won't even cost you very much and can save you endless time and headaches. And, it just might help you save a life!

ARTICLE CATEGORIES: Healthcare
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Shane Elmore, RN

Shane Elmore, RN

Shane is Pulsara's Vice President of Clinical Innovation, and is certified in CCRN, CEN, and CFRN. Shane is a former Chest Pain Coordinator at Trinity Mother Frances Health System.

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