Insights from Gearbox

"Anyone who stops learning is old." Henry Ford

Aug 19, 2020
Aug 19 2020

NEMSIS Integration with FileMaker

by Michael Layne

Here's a not-too-deep dive into an integration success story. We have a client in the Emergency Medical Services industry operating 200 ambulances across much of their state.

The Problem

In this industry, as you might expect, local, state, and federal government regulations exist and must compliance with mandated procedures is essential.

Responding to and recording of emergency responses is mission critical and while responding to a 911 call is one thing, the timely flow of information such as location, number of possible injuries, what other first responders might be present must be captured and reported back to the state.

You guessed it, even today, it is often a manual, paper process requiring hand-written notes on paper forms that later must be entered into spreadsheets and other systems for compliance, accounting, and often hospital systems.

The EMTs were spending a significant amount of time filling out paperwork long after response call were over and often key data was lost due to the time passed.

Office staff were manually keying in hand-written call data into accounting as well as compliance software. There was always a backlog and the stacks of paper on some desks were staggering.

Did I mention errors? Errors in the field having incomplete data, billing errors (and with state agencies and insurance companies, you can imagine the red tape involved to correct them).

The Example

Even though efficiencies were a major goal, compliance and submitting valid response data required by government agencies was critical.

We had to design an easy to use interface to capture nearly 200 data points across 25 element groups such as patient data, procedures, medications, vitals, exams, insurance to name a few.

The Solution

We designed and developed two applications that worked hand in hand, both having the ability to integrate with other systems.

The iPad app automatically fetches 911 call information based on the specific team in the ambulance. From there, the app walks them through gathering critical information and contains business rules designed by the client to let them know what is required and what isn't. The EMTs can scan insurance cards, take supporting photos at the scene, other patient and other first responders signatures and even validate that they are capturing enough compliance data directly from the iPad before uploading the entire response to their data center.

The desktop app is used by the entire back-office team to see incoming response data once it's been uploaded, add any necessary information that may have come in later, and with 2 clicks, import call data directly into their billing system.

Reporting was another bonus and we designed reports that can be printed or emailed and shared with hospitals and other agencies.

The Landmines

  1. Mobile can get cumbersome and overwhelming with dense data, so you want to keep your user experience very simple and easy to navigate.
  2. For this use case, you cannot know how good a connection you will have. You might be in a downtown area or on a farm 30 miles from the nearest town, so be mindful of how you connect and the amount of data you need to upload or download. Syncing your data can be tricky. You need a plan.
  3. If you're dealing with government agencies, there is often a learning curve to understand and format data to their specifications. In our case, the NEMSIS data dictionary and code reference was 721 pages.

We figured all this out, because that's what we do, it's one of our strengths. If we can help you identify ways to streamline your business or cut down on costly errors that can set your business back, give us a call. We'd love to hear about a problem we can help solve together. Integrations or something else.

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