Episode #5: To the Batphone! (How to call into the Hospital Without Wasting Their Time or Yours)

the batphone

There are plenty of skills that we practice throughout our initial EMT and paramedic schooling. I don’t remember biophone reports being one them, though. When you actually stop and think about having to condense twenty minutes of patient dialogue, a multi-system trauma scene, or all of the interventions and history of a cardiac arrest into thirty seconds, you realize that it is a remarkably difficult feat. So let’s talk about how to take our hospital reports, both over the phone and in person, to the next level.

There was a short blog post presented by NAEMSP a few days ago that actually highlighted this struggle. If you wish to read through the article, you can access it here. Communication is paramount in the EMS/ED relationship for a variety of reasons. Like we discussed in Episode #4: Why a Good PCR Mattersour initial interactions with the ED staff temporarily drives the type of patient care the ED will provide. Here are a few reminders on how to give a somewhat effective biophone report:

  • Understand that every time you call into a hospital, a nurse or a physician has to stop what they are in the middle of to answer. Only call when it counts!
    • One way to reduce unnecessary call-ins is to have a good grasp on what your protocols actually are.
  • Give your unit identifier; otherwise, no one knows who you are!
    • “This is (Medic name) with (Agency/Unit #)…”
  • State your purpose!
    • Start with “I am calling with for medication orders…”, “We are en route to to your facility…”, or “I am calling for an AMA refusal…”
    • Don’t assume the hospital/physician knows why you are calling.
      • Even if you are on scene and can see what is happening, they cannot.
  • Give an idea of what type of patient you are bringing in:
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Chief Complaint
      • On a side note, general chief complaints like weakness, lethargy, ALOC, etc. need to have a time frame associated with them!
  • Give any pertinent positive and negative physical/diagnostic findings that you can, including vital signs.
  • Report any pertinent interventions that you have performed and if they have been effective or not.
  • Give an ETA.
  • Allow for any questions or clarifying comments from the person taking your report.
  • Understand that if you are not brief and to the point, then the person taking your report is probably going to tune you out…


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