4 min read

How One EMS System is Working to Improve Care Systems in Time-Sensitive Emergencies

By Hannah Ostrem on Jan 05, 2017

When the concept for EMS was born nearly 50 years ago, it was meant to be an integrated part of a smooth system of care beginning with the call to EMS dispatch and continuing through to definitive treatment. However, EMS-to-hospital communications have faced significant barriers including miscommunications due to archaic and unreliable technologies, issues transmitting ECGs and other patient data, inadequate training in STEMI recognition, and lack of access to patient outcome information for EMS. According to an article published in JEMS this week, recent studies have shown that prehospital notification by EMS improves time to treatment for stroke, however these notifications are not part of a consistent and standardized protocol, and in 25% of cases, EMS fails to alert the hospital of an incoming stroke patient.

Topics: Stroke STEMI Sepsis Trauma Healthcare
2 min read

Who's On First -- The Frightening Reality of Healthcare Communication

By Shane Elmore, RN on Dec 14, 2016

Who's on First is an original comedy skit that was made famous by Abbot and Costello back in the early 1940's. It's a classic illustration of two people talking, but it's as if they are speaking different languages. The longer the skit goes on, the funnier it gets. It's not that their understanding changes — quite the opposite in fact. They continue the conversation, but neither of them ever realizes where the breakdown in communication is happening.

Topics: Stroke STEMI Leadership
2 min read

Australia EMS and Hospital Teams Save Young Man's Life Through Innovative Communication

By James Woodson, MD on Dec 01, 2016

We can’t say it enough:  Uniting and empowering strong teams is the foundation of building Regional Systems of Care. But how can we do that when we give different members of the same “team” different communication tools and protocols? Does it make any sense to give medics old fashioned radios and modems and then give cardiologists and neurologists phones and pagers? How can we truly expect them to be an integrated team when they aren't even speaking the same technological language?
Luckily, some teams are already taking the lead in revolutionizing the way we communicate around time-sensitive emergencies. One such example comes from the incredible teams in the state of Victoria, Australia, who were recently featured in an article in the Herald Sun. 
Topics: STEMI
4 min read

Change is Here to Stay: What That Means for Healthcare and the Beloved Pager.

By Shane Elmore, RN on Oct 18, 2016

When it comes to communication in healthcare, do you ever feel like you're playing a game of "telephone?"

One of the most challenging aspects of living in the technological age is the speed of change. There was once a day when the person armed with the most knowledge and information had the upper hand. That's not the case in today's world. Instead, the person or company that can rapidly learn and adjust to changing trends, information, and technology will now lead the pack. Your ability to adapt to a rapidly changing world will be the one skill that separates you from your competition.

Topics: Stroke STEMI Leadership Sepsis Trauma Healthcare Communication
2 min read

Miscommunication Found to be #1 Cause of Preventable Disability or Death in Hospitals

By Hannah Ostrem on Oct 11, 2016

Imagine this: It's a busy Saturday evening at the hospital. You are understaffed and overworked and it's one of those days where everything seems to be happening at once. The medics bring in a patient suspected of having a STEMI. You know that when time is tissue, every second counts, so you follow proper protocol and, when you need to consult the cardiologist, Dr. Smith, you simply send him a page and continue on with your seemingly endless list of tasks and patients that need your attention.

Topics: Stroke STEMI Healthcare Communication
2 min read

New Study Shows Improvements in STEMI Treatment Time With Care Coordination

By Hannah Ostrem on Sep 15, 2016

We've said it before, and we will say it again: inefficient communication is costing our patients -- big time. A  recent study revealed that changing the way EMS and hospital teams communicate -- specifically by coordinating emergency care as soon as EMS arrived on scene -- reduced treatment times for STEMI patients. The study's senior author, Dr. Christopher Granger of Duke University Medical Center said " It’s absolutely clear that to save the lives of people having heart attacks we have to open the artery quickly. We can probably reduce mortality by 60 percent."
Topics: STEMI
2 min read

How the Sugar Industry May Be Responsible For Increased Heart Disease and the Obesity Epidemic

By Hannah Ostrem on Sep 13, 2016

A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine yesterday, reports that the sugar industry, in particular the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF), sponsored and groomed major research in the 1950s which ultimately down-played the role of sugar in Coronary Heart Disease (CHD).

The SRF paid researchers to publish (in NEJMnonetheless) findings that suggested that sugar played no major role in CHD, but rather that fat and cholesterol were to blame for increased rates in the disease. According to the JAMA article, "The industry would subsequently spend $600,000 ($5.3 million in 2016 dollars) to teach 'people who had never had a course in biochemistry… that sugar is what keeps every human being alive and with energy to face our daily problems.'”

Topics: STEMI
3 min read

From Swim Races to Emergency Cases: How to Shatter Times and Set New Records

By Cynthia Bradford Lencioni on Aug 30, 2016

The author competes in a high school 200 meter freestyle race.

800 m freestyle
8:04.79 (World Record)
Katie Ledecky
August 12, 2016

400 m freestyle
3:56.46 (World Record)
Katie Ledecky
August 7, 2016

I’m a lot of things: a mom, a wife, a Chief Operating Officer … but one of my longest-standing titles is that of swimmer. I started competing in swimming at age 6 and continued on through Division 1 in college. And while I no longer compete, swimming is still a passion of mine, and my favorite way to exercise. So it’s no surprise that I love watching the Summer Olympics. In addition to the network coverage, it was especially fun to see former teammates and coaches broadcasting TV color commentary and posting behind-the-scenes photos with Michael Phelps and other medal winners.

Topics: Stroke STEMI
1 min read

The Sobering Cost of Inefficient Communication in Healthcare

By James Woodson, MD on Aug 17, 2016

QUESTION:  How much time (and thereby, myocardium) is lost secondary to inefficient communication? In a recent article  about why we struggle with treating heart attack patients in a timely manner, Dr. Granger nails the heart of the problem, saying “US health care has a lot of great accomplishments and features, but one of its problems is fragmentation, particularly of emergency care.”
Topics: STEMI