Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Flight Paramedic Invents Tool

According to the recent MC4 publication “The Gateway”, SGT Michael Ferguson a flight paramedic with C Company, 1-168th Aviation Regiment, developed a way to capture medevac patient care information while in transit. SGT Ferguson said that his unit doesn’t find the MC4 handheld devices and laptops user friendly for pre-hospital use as they are geared to the clinical environment.

Flight medics find that the outpatient software on the laptop looks for information that is too detailed for the mission. Flight medics are not supposed to make a diagnosis of a patient’s condition, as you only need to document what they see or what they think is wrong with the person.

For example, if a patient experiences chest pains and you try to enter this information into AHLTA-T—the system wants “chest pain with cardiac origin” or any other specific chest problems entered. The job of the flight medic is not to determine the origin of a pain or injury and in this case should only enter “chest pain”.

To create the right form that is needed by flight medics with the right amount of information, SGT Ferguson developed the Patient Care Record (PCR) form. Now the patient’s information and our treatments are entered on the form while enroute to the hospital. When the flight medics and patient arrive at the treatment facility, the facility staff is given a verbal report based on the information that has been entered on the paper forms.

Medevac personnel enter the data from the PCR into MC4 within 24 hours after contact with the patient, and usually entered after the flight medic’s shift. At this point, the patient encounter and data goes into AHLTA-T with the electronic version of the PCR attached to the record.

As SGT Ferguson said “ our documentation might not be available electronically when the doctors and nurses in Afghanistan begin treating the patient, but when the wounded warrior arrives in Germany, the medical staff has the full medical picture and can know exactly what the flight medics did and observed enroute.