App in use in Attleboro gives first responders an edge

It's Good News

ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — Smartphones are now being used to help save lives at Sturdy Memorial Hospital, thanks to an app that EMS workers can use while, or before, transporting a patient to the emergency department. It can help get patients the care they need quicker than ever, relaying information more efficiently, doctors say.

“We always say, time is brain, time is heart,” said Dr. Brian Patel, Sturdy’s chief of emergency and occupational health services. Saving seconds can save lives.

For the process known as triage – determining the seriousness of a patient’s wounds and the action that should be taken – EMS workers are now using an app called Twiage.

“The idea behind it is to improve communication with EMS and the hospital, and provide a more efficient and clear way of communicating patient care and information before they come to the hospital,” Dr. Patel explained.

The time saved varies case by case, but Dr. Patel estimates using the app saves an average of one to three minutes compared to their old system.

“We were using a phone system which would not always work very well; you couldn’t hear the communication very clearly,” he said. “There would be dropped calls. You would miss information. This way, everything is electronic, so you can completely understand what is going on with the patient before they arrive.”

An EMS employee fires up the app on their smartphone and taps out information, including conditions – “they’re having some weakness, some difficulty speaking, let’s say their blood pressure is high, EMS put an IV in,” Dr. Patel suggested as examples.

Doctors at the hospital then advise on the next steps. It saves critical moments in cases like heart attack and stroke.

Dr. Patel also notes that patients will be reassured and stabilized as to the reason an EMT might have his or her phone in hand. The app is also HIPPA compliant; no patient info is stored on the phones.

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