Deploying AngelTrack means converting your organization over to mobile computing.
In a mobile organization, employees are no longer tied to specific locations or specific computers. Anyone can access AngelTrack and perform their role using any internet-connected device, including personally-owned tablets, phablets, and smartphones. Or work from home if you allow it.
Crews receive all of their orders, and access their patients’ records, on their mobile devices. They can map their route, mark themselves on-scene, write a narrative, review a DNR document, browse a list of nearby ERs, email out a run report, log a fuel purchase, whatever, right on their tablet or smartphone.
No. More. Paper.
Follow this punch-list to convert your operation to mobile/paperless/cloud operation:
Decide on a billing strategy
Outsourced biller or in-house? If outsourced, is your biller willing to integrate, or will they remain detached?
In-house and integrated billers will have accounts in your AngelTrack cloud server and will login to it to perform billing tasks on your behalf. AngelTrack sorts all billing work-to-do into queues; you must decide who is responsible for each queue. For example, you may have a billing expert in-house who performs QA reviews and decides — for each dispatch — whether to file it with insurance; meanwhile your outside biller handles the claims, appeals, and EOBs of any dispatch approved for filing. Someone else entirely could take responsibility for generating facility and patient invoices, and processing invoice payments.
Select mobile devices
AngelTrack is “Bring Your Own Device”, so the various smartphones, phablets, and tablets that your employees already own are perfectly sufficient. And the nice thing is, employees always carefully look after their own devices, and keep them charged without prompting.
If you do purchase mobile devices for the company, your BLS+ crews need tablets with armor and mobile internet service. Meanwhile your wheelchair van drivers only need smartphones or phablets, since they don’t have to write reports… but tablets work fine too, if you are standardizing on one kind of device for company use.
Decide whether to issue devices to vehicles, or to employees, or use a shared pool. Issuing devices to individual employees reduces losses but requires a lot more devices.
Don’t mess around with mobile hotspots or wifi-only plans; you need mobile internet service for all of your devices. Use the EMS mobile device cost estimate page to work up an estimate for the total cost of ownership of your mobile devices.
Lock down all company-owned devices
All company-owned mobile devices should be given a standard configuration and then locked down with a password that blocks any change to the device configuration. Consider blocking the installation of new apps, too.
Register all company-owned mobile devices using whichever “find my device” app is available for that device. Give supervisors’ devices the ability to access this tracking information in real time.
Arrange storage and charging for company-owned devices
If you are not assigning a mobile device to each employee, then each crew station will need some kind of base for recharging and check-in and -out. Perhaps a set of shelves or nooks or trays, each with the appropriate charger and cable. Decide how devices are shared and checked-in/checked-out, and then publish it as policy, along with a warning about plugging in one’s device each night so that it will be full in the morning.
The consensus is that it’s not practical to maintain chargers inside the vehicles… but that’s okay. All tablets have more than enough battery life to run calls all day, so long as the crew does not spend their spare time using the device to play games and watch YouTube. And anyway, crew members can fall back on their personal smartphones to run AngelTrack if their primary mobile device dies.
One proven alternative to all the charging cables is the QI charging standard. It is built-in to many smartphones and tablets, and allows the device to be charged by simply laying it onto a QI pad… no cable required. The QI pads can be placed at stations and inside vehicles.
Establish alternate communications channel and protocol
Even if you use VoIP on your mobile devices, your dispatchers will need an alternate communications channel to reach crew members. It could be pagers, Nextel phones, short-wave radio mounted in the vehicle, or simply fall back on their personal cellphones. Whichever you choose, write and publish a protocol for how crews and dispatchers should behave in the event of loss of internet service.
Keep stashes of old-fashioned paper forms for emergencies
Sooner or later your internet service will fail and you’ll have to run for a couple of hours without it. In anticipation of that misfortune, you should stash a handful of old-fashioned paper PCR forms and signature sheets in each vehicle. The dispatch office, likewise, will need a stash of old-fashioned paper dispatch forms, just in case.
Provide full-sized computers at crew stations
It can be tedious to type in a long run report on a touchscreen device (although bluetooth keyboards can help somewhat). So, at your crew stations there should be one or two desktop computers with full-size keyboards, for use by crews needing to finish up reports and corrections. Add a flatbed scanner if your mobile devices do not have adequate cameras for document photography.
AngelTrack supports all major operating systems and browsers, so it can be any sort of workstation. And there is no need for it be brand new; better to upgrade your dispatchers’ computers to new dual-monitor workstations, and then hand down the old workstations for crew use.
Establish a paper document workflow
Lay out a workflow for how paper documents — handed to your crews — are processed. Some should be photographed on-scene (AngelTrack can inhale documents by simply photographing them with a smartphone or tablet), or taken to the station for scanning and upload using a flatbed scanner. Perhaps it should be the crews doing the scanning, or perhaps it will be your back office.
The goal is zero paper, because every sheet of paper leaves a trail of destroyed man-hours in its wake. So, the more on-scene photographing your crews do, the less hours will be wasted in your billing office.
You can use this sample paper document workflow as a starting point for your own policy.
Bump up the computers in the dispatch office
Your dispatchers will benefit enormously from having dual-monitor computers. One monitor on the left for the active dispatch boards, and one on the right for the schedule of upcoming calls. You could hang a third monitor on the wall showing a real-time traffic map where all dispatchers can see it.
The quality of internet service at your dispatch office is critical; if it goes down, your dispatchers will have to fall back on mobile devices to run the dispatch board. So, if your internet service has a history of flakiness, upgrade it now. In the same vein, make sure your cable/DSL modem, your LAN switch, and your dispatchers’ workstations are all on UPS power.
Configure all computers and devices for military time
AM/PM confusion is a serious hazard in EMS, especially in the dispatch office. Remove the ambiguity by configuring all company-owned computers and mobile devices to use military (24-hour) time, rather than AM/PM.
Set policy for damage to mobile devices
Set a clear policy for what happens to an employee who loses or damages a company-owned mobile device. Tablets are not expensive to replace while still in a service contract, especially if you will accept refurb devices as replacements. You may need to have employees sign a payroll deduction form, attesting that they understand they will be charged for all such losses.
Set policy for timeclock corrections
Set a clear and strict policy for what happens in the timeclock when an employee forgets to clock-in or -out. AngelTrack remembers and displays any HR edits to employee timecards, so every edit should have a consent form signed by the affected employee, in order to protect the company from labor law claims.
AngelTrack’s online help has a sample timeclock corrections policy, including a sample consent form, for your convenience in framing your own policy.
Set dates for switch-over
Choose and publish official dates for the switch-overs. You will eventually be switching all of these:
- From current dispatch software (or paper) to AngelTrack’s dispatch system
- From current PCR software (or paper) to AngelTrack’s PCR
- From current timeclock to AngelTrack’s timeclock
- From current incident management system (if any) to AngelTrack’s incident system
- From current fuel-purchase tracking system to AngelTrack’s system (or use both)
There should be a specific date for each of those switches. The day before the agreed date, round up your supervisors and do a dry run. If all goes well, everyone begins using the new system the next morning.<
Configure your AngelTrack cloud server
You have several hours’ work to get your organization’s employees, assets, and preferences input into your new AngelTrack cloud server. The first time you connect to it, you’ll be taken to the Quick Start page; from there, follow the Quick Start Guide and you’ll do just fine.
Have your legal team review AngelTrack’s signature forms
AngelTrack’s signature forms are pre-loaded with legal texts that are probably sufficient for any EMS company… but better safe than sorry. Show the texts (available from theDocument Templates page under Settings) to your legal team and get their blessing.
Sign up for NSure
AngelTrack provides live demographic verification and patient insurance discovery, via integration with the NSure / PayorLogic product. To make use of this, you must sign up for an NSure account.
To learn more, refer to the NSure Integration Guide.