Queen Anne's County, Md.—Washington, D.C.’s Gateway to the Atlantic—Leads State in Equipping EMS with Mobile Access to Patient Medication History
Gives paramedics and EMTs rapid, secure access to life-saving medication history and secure communications with ER, doctors, and hospitals
Rapid access to medical care often means the difference between life and death during emergency calls for serious traffic accidents, heart attacks, and strokes. Queen Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services is the first in Maryland to take advantage of a state budget provision to help speed time to care and protect patients from adverse drug events during emergency calls.
Maryland’s program enables counties to implement Backline for EMS, an award-winning care collaboration healthcare technology platform by pioneer DrFirst. Queen Anne’s County paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) will soon have real-time access to patient’s medication histories and can send secure messages to local hospitals.
The county covers a major transportation artery in Maryland—the only direct eastern route from the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., and its heavily populated surrounding areas to the Atlantic coast—with Route 50 leading to popular vacation destinations and Route 301 leading north to Wilmington, Philadelphia, and New York. “That juncture and all of its traffic require special attention and preparation from EMS,” said Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Steve Wilson. “We’re very pleased to be the first county in Maryland to equip our EMTs and Paramedic’s with this important tool that helps ready them not only the ability to care for the local population and also address emergencies among the millions of visitors passing through our
county every year,” Steve Wilson, a Queen Anne's County Commissioner remarked.
Paramedics and EMTs can use Backline to scan barcodes on the back of a patient’s driver’s license to confirm his or her identity and access medication history for the last six months. Having this information reduces the risk of adverse medication reactions, especially for patients who are unconscious or unable to recall details of their prescribed medications. Emergency responders can then securely transmit patient information when they are on the way to the hospital, including a photo of the insurance card when available, to help clinicians start treatment sooner. “Knowing a patient’s medication history on the spot can aid Paramedic’s with patient assessment accuracy and critical decision-making where minutes matter,” said Dr. Joseph Ciotola, medical director for the Queen Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services. “The instant collaboration via remote updates from EMTs can improve Emergency Department readiness
too. When patients are not able to communicate or are hindered by their condition, Backline’s capabilities mean faster, safer treatment.”
Access to medication history is particularly important, according to Scott Wheatley assistant chief of EMS for Queen Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services. “Easily checking medication history and communicating with key providers in real time, all accomplished from a cell phone is critical,” he said. “You don’t need to take time-consuming extra steps to reach data and convey data to make decisions. While we have a free-standing ER in the county that we can utilize, we also must do longer transports to hospitals which requires more paramedicine interventions. Backline for EMS is a technology that will allow us to deliver definitive care quickly and safely in many transport scenarios, and improve documentation and reporting.”
Nonprofit MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, is an ongoing proponent of EMS access to services and tools that facilitate highly responsive care. “In Queen Anne’s County with its critical highway infrastructure, systems are growing, and medic unit capacity is often taxed by demands,” said MedChi CEO Gene Ransom. “The partnership with DrFirst and implementation of Backline helps physicians support a dedicated and innovative EMS and vice versa. That’s a win for everyone. I think the state funding initiative and this of this project will save lives, and I’d like to see expansion.”
For questions about the Backline for EMS platform, contact Assistant Chief Scott H. Wheatley firstname.lastname@example.org.