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Austin EMS launches new electronic patient care records system

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Nov. 5 was the day Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services launched its new patient record software, which is intended to provide quicker and easier data access and streamline communications between EMS medics who take notes on the scene and medical professionals in the hospitals. “Hopefully this will (be) an avenue to look at those patient records more easily,” said ATCEMS Chief of Staff Jasper Brown at the Nov. 5 Public Safety Commission meeting. From now until Feb. 4, the ATCEMS department will authorize 35 “super users” on the system to explore the software and test it for any issues. After this soft launch period, the new system, which includes brand-new tablets, will be rolled out to all medics on staff. The system, according to Brown, will be completely new and will not have any imported records from the software the department is currently using. Medics will still be able to read the old records, but the two systems will not be merged together. Commissioner Daniela Nuñez expressed her concern about potential data breaches in light of growing awareness of the issue nationwide. Brown assured her that the department is using the latest encryption code and that only a “super sleuth” could access the records without authorization. Eventually, the EMS department hopes to share the same system as the Fire Department, since firefighters are often the first responders on the scene. However, at this point, a software migration for the Fire Department is not approved in the budget. Still, “It certainly seems that you should have the same system,” said Chair Rebecca Webber.

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