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 Matters, our 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:
- 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…