Patient transport codes provide paramedics options

EDs in Akron, OH, have produced a novel, tiered transport regimen that enables paramedics to price patients according to how urgently they call for care. When paramedics respond to a 911 call, they call medical control and also recommend a transport choice using among three codes. "They may say, We have a 6-year old that fell and hit his head, with short loss the consciousness. Us feel a code 3 carry is appropriate,"’ states Kim Jetter, RN, EMT, pediatric EMS coordinator at children Medical center in Akron.

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If the paramedics think the patient no need prompt transport, a various code is used. "The paramedics can that patient come a password 2 transfer, i beg your pardon frees up the paramedics to get ago into circulation," defines Norman Christopher, MD, FACEP, manager of emergency and also trauma services at Children’s.

They also have the alternative to not transfer the patience at all. "Code 1 deliver is actually a no transfer, since an emergency does not exist. They may feel the kid is good to journey to the hospital or doctor’s office. This protects a valuable resource," says Christopher. "Our paramedics room getting back into circulation much more quickly, rather of being tied up with non-emergency work."

The following codes space used:

Code 1: No transport. "Those room your really minor injuries, such as a cut hand," says Roger Hoover, ar chief for EMS at the Akron Fire Department. "In that case, we will certainly dress it, wrap that up, and also call the in. However the patient is make a password 1, definition they do not require an ambulance because that transport."

The decision is constantly jointly do by the paramedics and also the medical professional at med control, claims Jetter. "They both need to be comfortable with the code 1 status," she adds.

Code 2. Transfer by exclusive ambulance. "Once it’s established a patient is a password 2, a exclusive ambulance is called. Castle are supposed to insurance a 15-minute response time," states Hoover. "We remain until they assume treatment of the patient. The patient is climate transported come the hospital, and also the team is freed up and back in service. This way, they are able to instantly respond to another call."

Examples of password 2s include post-seizure patients, diabetics who should be observed, and also most orthopedic injuries. "These no life- or limb-threatening conditions, and they don’t need a lights-and-siren ride. The extra time won’t make a difference in care, and they will likely be waiting in the ED for several hours before they space evaluated," claims Hoover.

Code 3: move by ambulance. "This is the greatest level the transport, because that life- or limb-threatening conditions, such as serious trauma, chest pains, uncontrolled seizures, unavoidable childbirth, and strokes," states Hoover.


Paramedics freed up

Patient treatment is improved since delays room reduced, says Jetter. "The last thing we desire to execute is needlessly tie-up a squad, specifically if the totality city is busy. If we have actually med devices unnecessarily bound up, their solution time is longer and that can be detrimental to a patient," she notes.

The system ensures that patients are treated appropriately. "A the majority of non-urgent treatment isn’t dumped ~ above the hospitals, and the public is educated the EMS is not a taxi service," claims Christopher. "The impact that it has on ED treatment delivery is incredible. Because our paramedics stay in service, ours EMS staff isn’t double as large as it demands to be. They room doing what they are trained come do, rather of giving a carpool organization for families."

A smaller force is able to emphasis its sources on patient who require its level that skill, says Christopher. "This ensures ease of access of greater level companies in the field, and far better triage," he notes.

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The setup with personal ambulances likewise helps when there is a catastrophe, notes Hoover. "By enabling them to generate the revenue from code 2s, we have actually a built-in backup system as soon as we need it. The worst thing is come not have anybody come respond. We had actually a couple close calls on really busy days," he explains. "For example, if we have a bad car accident, and several units room out on other calls, there might not be enough units to take care of it. If we need a couple of private ambulances, they will certainly drop anything else to respond come our requests."

Failsafe system

If over there is a disagreement about which code should be used, the greater code constantly prevails, claims Hoover. "If the paramedic states to the physician, based on our testimonial we feeling this deserve to be a code 2, but the medical professional feels it’s a code 3, the doctor wins, or angry versa," that explains.

A failsafe system ensures that a decision is never made to downgrade a patient’s status without a doctor consult. "If for some factor med manage cannot it is in contacted, climate no matter exactly how minor the problem, the patience is transported password 3 by the ambulance," Hoover explains. "A perception exists that the paramedics make the decisions by themselves and also if they don’t want to bother to transfer a patient, they’ll do it a password 2, however that’s never ever the case."

Strict controls are used. "The paramedics would never make a decision come not deliver a patient there is no contacting medical regulate first," stress Christopher. "If they describe that a child vomited 2 weeks earlier and it doesn’t appear to be anything urgent, I have the option to ask more questions or no agree v their decisions. The onus is on us to testimonial our medical manage decisions."

The code 1 patients space harder to track than Code 2s since the patients that aren’t transported may not come in, notes Christopher. "However, we deserve to follow to check out if lock come in the following day. That way we deserve to ascertain if a poor decision was made and also they wind increase sicker," he says. "But from our research, we have every clues to believe that our ar triage is accurate. The system is really conservative."


Of 450 calls in a current month, 160 were made password 1s. "Roughly one-third of the patients were no transported," says Christopher. " Of the group, about half didn’t wind up comes in. It’s a little troubling that we don’t have accurate follow-up for patients who don’t come in in ~ all."

Patients are never ever told castle don’t must go come the hospital, says Hoover. Even with code 1 patients, they room advised that this situation does need further evaluation, wherever the patient choose to go," that notes. "Paramedics never tell everyone You don’t need further evaluation,’ since that would be a danger practice. These space transport modes, not therapy modes."