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Patient flow

Smoother entry of patients from ambulance to hospital

EDMONTON – Capital Health and Edmonton EMS are rolling out an innovative pilot utilizing real-time, up-to-the-minute data to help streamline the entry of ambulance patients into hospital emergency departments, allowing paramedics to get back on the road faster.

The new Ambulance Destination Determination System (ADDS) will see Edmonton EMS and Capital Health’s Regional Patient Transport Office staff working together in one location with access to the most current information on the status of each emergency department in the city.

Staff at the new destination coordination centre will then be able to send ambulances to the emergency department best able to provide care based on a combination of real-time information and a patient’s condition.

“The ADDS will allow us to coordinate the flow of patients into the region’s emergency departments. We will be able to direct paramedics to the emergency department best able to admit their patient the soonest, reducing the amount of time paramedics are waiting to transfer patient care,” says Steve Rapanos, Edmonton EMS Chief. “This joint initiative will allow us to continue to provide the right care, in the right place, at the right time and help relieve some of the pressure on our pre-hospital care system.”

The ADDS will initially involve Edmonton EMS, Parkland Ambulance Authority, St Albert Fire Department and Strathcona County Emergency Services. To start, it will incorporate emergency departments at the University of Alberta Hospital, the Royal Alexandra Hospital, the Grey Nuns, Misericordia and Sturgeon Community Hospitals and Northeast Community Health Centre.

Patients transported as inter-hospital transfers will not be a part of the pilot. Suburban and rural ambulance providers will use the ADDS when a patient’s condition requires transport to one of the region’s larger hospitals.

“This regional partnership has been under development for more than a year, and we expect this collaborative approach to ambulance diversion to have a positive effect on patient care,” says Dr. Ken Gardener, Vice President of Medical Affairs for Capital Health. “Our ambulance services are an essential part of the health system, and the ADDS allows us to get patients to the most appropriate emergency department as quickly as possible.”

The pilot will run from July to September 2007 and will be evaluated on a number of criteria, including comparisons of hospital wait times and impact on hospital emergency room status.

About Capital Health
Capital Health in Edmonton is Canada’s largest health region and is affiliated with the University of Alberta, providing integrated health services to one million residents in Edmonton and the surrounding area. Capital Health acts as a referral centre to central and northern Alberta, the North and the Prairies, providing specialized services such as trauma and burn treatment, organ transplants and high-risk obstetrics.