Deciding on ePCR Software: A Checklist for EMS Agencies

emsCharts Response to a NASEMSO-published  decision making guide to EMS Software

NASEMSODecidingonePCRSoftware191114.pdf

Research Your Options

  • Check online or call your state EMS office to find out what the requirements are for submitting data
  • Ask for a list of ePCR vendors currently operating in your state

emsCharts

  • emsCharts has been in business for 10 years with over 2,800 customers in 48 states.
  • emsCharts also has "auto-feeds" to many state systems.  This reduces the workload on Service Directors in getting data to state data repository.  
  • emsCharts does not charge the customer for data submission, or versioning of data sets.
  • emsCharts also has implemented state-wide validation rules, previously based from state-provided Excel sheets and now Schematron.

Evaluate Your System’s Needs

  • Considerations:
    • Call volume
    • Personnel/staffing input
    • Level of skill of personnel
    • Current system capabilities
    • Do they meet your needs or do you want more (or less?)

emsCharts

  • emsCharts is priced depending on style of service and your annual call volume.  Whe charge based on usage, not by license.
  • emsCharts allows customization of a large portion of the system, including fully customized permissions by role.
  • emsCharts automatically makes sections & fields available depending on type of service and staffing level.
  • If you can use email and Facebook, you can use emsCharts

Learn About Vendor Options

  • Is the vendor compliant with NEMSIS? (click here for a list of software in compliance testing)
  • How long have they been in business?
  • How many customers do they have?

emsCharts

  • emsCharts has been compliant with NEMSIS v2 for a long time; we were one of the first six Gold compliant software companies.
  • We have over 44 NEMSIS v3 implementations, both v3.3.4 and v3.4.0 in various states and regions and that is growing. We are NEMSIS v3 compliant in both versions.
  • After 10 years and numerous state implementations, we've created a good amount of relationships with state data managers.  
  • We've attended most, if not all, NEMSIS annual meetings. Adam Mihlfried, Director of Software Development, is a former NEMSIS Steering Committee member.

Get the Real Story

  • Talk to current customers about their experience
    • Ask your state EMS office if there are services that are currently using the vendor, or have used the vendor in the past
  • Possible questions include:
    • How long have you used this software?
    • Do your providers find the software easy to use? Or what feedback have you received from field providers?
    • How is the vendor’s customer service?
    • Are responses timely?
    • Do your issues get resolved?

emsCharts

  • All emsCharts customers can be references and we can provide a list of agencies or count of agencies in your state.
  • emsCharts has a support system built into it's software and operates an in-house support staff.  We have dedicated support staff to answering your needs; Developers responsible for specific areas/functionality of emsCharts are accessible to answer direct questions and take enhancement requests.
  • A number of the staff has public safety and EMS experience and are cross trained between development and support.

State Compliance

  • What support will be offered to make sure that data export to the state is working and continues to work?
  • Are web services available or does the export need to be manually downloaded and  uploaded to the state?
  • Successful submission of data to the state(s) in which you operate should be a minimum contract requirement.

emsCharts

  • See above for discussions about NEMSIS compliance, development, and support.
  • We believe automated transmissions are the most effective way to transmit the data to states, regions, and other repositories.

Hardware

  • What hardware is needed?
  • Can this be run off of Windows or Mac operating systems?
  • Is it compatible with tablets?

emsCharts

  • emsCharts has a small software footprint making it easy to convince IT analysts to authorize emsCharts
  • emsCharts Mobile minimum specifications are located here: https://www.emscharts.com/pub/products.cfm; mobile is laptop or tablet friendly
  • For other products, including specialized EKG import and CAD import some technical involvement is required due to the interfacing to "outside" systems.

Tech Support

  • Is support available 24/7?
  • Is there a time limit before additional fees are charged?
  • Vendors could be asked to provide their average and 90th percentile Issue and/or Bug identification to closure time

emsCharts

  • Support is available 24/7 via the following:
    • M-F 8-6am ET direct phone to in-house support personnel
    • Other times, calls handled by call center which has direct access to emsCharts staff.
    • 24/7 access to support system which assigns tickets to proper support or development staff based on issue.
  • Support reports are available upon requests

Training

  • What training will be offered after purchase, both for those who manage the software and end users?
  • What continuing education will be provided as updates or changes are made?

emsCharts

  • Training is a strength of emsCharts. We have a number of training options from in-person/on-site to remote dial-in service with our Training Manager.
  • Training materials, including documents and PowerPoint seminars, available via the website.
  • Multiple courses/tracts depending on top.
  • Coming Soon: YouTube Channel containing how-to videos.

Updates

  • If maintenance is current, what will you be charged to stay current with your state and the national standard?
  • Require the vendor to maintain state and national compliance within a certain amount of time of the new standard being adopted.

emsCharts

  • There is no charge for most updates and certainly no charge to stay current with state or national regulations.
  • Updates are alerted via free subscription forums and emails to software administrators

Ownership

  • Ensure that your service owns your data.
  • What happens if the company goes bankrupt or is bought out by another company?
  • How will past PCR’s be brought into this new system? Will some data be lost?

emsCharts

  • emsCharts make robust features for you to use your data that is stored on our servers.  The agencies own their own data.

  • emsCharts customers have a 30 day out clause to our Service Agreement. This provides a low risk solutions for our customers.

  • Prior customers that have left emsCharts have requested and obtained their raw data and software used to view that data.

Reporting

  • How easy is it to get information out of the system to look at performance?
  • Can you easily create new reports?
  • Ad-hoc reports with 5-10 filters must be possible for easy extraction of specific information.
  • Being able to add filters and work with the entire dataset or discrete time periods is a must.
  • Does the software have dashboards?
  • Make sure the vendor is required to give you every piece of data collected back through the reporting engine, not just the NEMSIS elements.

emsCharts

  • emsCharts has hundreds of standard reports available for use.
  • Additionally, we offer Ad Hoc reporting that allow you to report on 100% of your customized data
  • All fields & some combination & calculations of fields are available in our custom reporting section
  • Standard reports, including Time Frame, Response Time, Day/Night, Cross tablular, Repeat Patient reports
  • Reports can be saved, scheduled, and if emailed can strip HPI
  • emsCharts has advanced Quality Assurance mechanisms that many vendors do not including various filters
  • emsCharts new analytics package and GAMUT reporting is a furthering focus on performance measures and utilizing collected data.
  • emsCharts has significant interoperability with the following:
    1. CAD – 35+ CAD interfaces
    2. Billing – auto export or online access for internal or 3rd party billers
    3. EKG – EKG data import to mobile or web
    4. Hospitals – HL7 data exchanges
    5. HIE – exchange data to HIE systems
    6. Operative IQ
    7. RSQ911
    8. GER911