Enhanced Processes, Communication Work To Reduce EMS Offload Delays
Ambulance offload delays are continuing to decrease according to Essex-Windsor EMS.
They say this is because of enhanced protocols and communication between area health care agencies and new technology that EMS monitor in real time the movement of patients and the ebb and flow of patient volumes at area hospitals.
Officials say that offload times have been trending downwards since Essex-Windsor EMS and area hospitals began changing the pattern of emergency room use in late 2018 and using a real-time situational dashboard.
Over the past decade, the use of “destination protocols” has been increasing in Windsor-Essex. These protocols meant patients experiencing certain health issues were taken by paramedics to emergency rooms specializing in that field whether that emergency room was busy or not. This resulted in certain emergency departments facing pressure over and above regular emergency department visits.
Offload delays were reduced by a total of 6,994 hours from December through March compared to the same period the year before.
That works out to 3.36 full-time ambulances staffed forty hours a week that are now on the road dealing with patients instead of waiting in ER bays.
“This technology and these new protocols help put paramedics where they are most effective – on the road providing pre-hospital emergency care to the residents of Windsor-Essex,” said Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter. “We are committed to building on this early success with our hospital partners and will continue working to reduce offload delays and enhance patient care.”
Officials say that while the total number of calls is down for the first quarter of 2019, the number of patients being transported to Erie Shores HealthCare in Leamington has nearly doubled. This is the result of diversion protocols that recognize the regional nature of our health care system. This shift has helped fuel the decrease in offload times at all three area hospitals.
“The whole is greater than the parts when it comes to delivering quality health care to the residents of Windsor-Essex,” said Janice Dawson, CEO of Erie Shores HealthCare. “Working together like this promotes positive outcomes for patients no matter where they live. Feedback from patients that would not normally have come to Erie Shores HealthCare under previous EMS protocols has been very positive.”