Communications and Informatics
The Communications and Informatics Branch is responsible for physician oversight of the distinct component of communications and data management in out-of-hospital medicine. The Branch provides medical leadership to 911 dispatchers through the development and monitoring of dispatch algorithms and medically sound and current over-the-telephone pre-arrival instructions for patients requesting EMS services.
Department of Emergency Medicine physicians provide oversight of communications of EMS personnel as well. This includes monitoring EMS provider activity at any given moment, provisions for EMS provider communication with receiving hospitals to provide pertinent patient reports, and online medical direction. Section physicians serve as medical directors for the Milwaukee County EMS Communications Center as well as several community 911 public safety answering points (PSAP's). Online medical direction encompasses real-time communication with EMS providers in the field to provide high quality care to our patients. Department of Emergency Medicine faculty and residents provide this real-time communications with EMS providers via two-way radio and cellular telephones 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In addition to voice communications, telemetry (heart monitor tracing/rhythms) is visualized and monitored remotely by the physician. Similarly, 12-lead EKGs are also sent remotely and are interpreted by Department of Emergency Medicine physicians before the patient even arrives at the hospital.
In keeping with the Section's education mission, emergency medicine residents are provided considerable education to become proficient in providing online medical direction with appropriate faculty physician oversight. This educational opportunity not only provides residents expertise in online medical control, but also provides an opportunity in managing critical care patients.
The informatics side of the Branch deals with a robust quality assurance & continuous quality improvement (QA/CQI) program and the maintenance of a large, comprehensive EMS patient database. Physician oversight has been essential in the development of the CQI program as well as the database. The medical directors utilize both resources to ensure continuous improvement in patient care and to keep out-of-hospital care on the cutting edge of science and medicine. This ensures that the EMS providers in the system are the best in the world!