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  • How a Fire Department Used the New ZOLL emsCharts App to Solve Problems with Charting in the Field

    Paper-based charting in the field is still the norm for EMS and Fire medics

    How a Fire Department Used the New ZOLL emsCharts App to Solve Problems with Charting in the Field

    Paper-based charting in the field is still the norm for EMS and Fire medics. Logging into a browser-based ePCR system simply isn’t practical or possible, forcing medics to sometimes use note pads, medical tape, or even gloves to collect patient information in an emergency. 

    This approach is error-prone, requires double documentation, and takes considerable time to import the data into the ePCR system later. After repeatedly hearing from customers about how charting was the worst part of their jobs, ZOLL Data Systems wanted to find a better solution. In March 2021, we gathered a group of customers and our product development and user experience teams to brainstorm how we could provide a better charting experience. Ultimately, we decided to build a mobile companion app to our cloud-based ePCR software that complements our users’ different workflows to improve data quality and advance patient care. 

    Captain Alex Knowlton, EMS ALS coordinator for the Schenectady Fire Department (SFD) and an EMT for 24 years, was part of the original brainstorm group and was also a beta tester of the ZOLL emsCharts NOW mobile companion app, which enables contemporaneous charting at the scene. Captain Knowlton recently shared his impressions of the app after using it for more than five months at SFD.

    Schenectady Fire Department badge

    As Knowlton described, “The app is designed to feed our documentation (in the field) directly into ZOLL emsCharts, where the data ultimately needs to live. Early on, we saw the potential for increased efficiency, which would benefit our overall operation, and especially our crews.”

    “The big item that [our crews] love is the driver's license scanning. We scan the license’s barcode and import all information directly into the app, which then goes into our cloud-based chart. We can interact with the patient more, and there are no typos.”

    Top Features for Medics
    • Mobile-first functionality that can be accessed on scene, even without an internet connection
    • Driver’s license scanning to automatically import demographic information directly into the app and web-based chart
    • One-click documentation of medical history, common ailments, allergies, and medications
    • Voice-to-text capabilities (particularly handy with longer text fields, like on Chief Complaint, History of Present illness, and the narrative)
    • Automatic timestamps of vitals
    • Quick-action buttons to begin documenting an event instantly and automatically add it to the timeline
    • Information import from dispatch CAD software (address, nature of call, etc.)

    Top Benefits Experienced by SFD


    Additional benefits Knowlton cited include:

    • Faster charting in the field with fewer errors “Charting is becoming more difficult, and we saw this as a way where crews can spend less time at back at the station charting a call. We also know that the information is going to be secure and there's no way to lose, misplace, or have an issue transcribing it.”
    • Huge time savings “On our busier apparatus, we run 15 to 20 calls a day and the chart usually takes about 20 minutes. With the app, we're saving about five minutes on every chart and that adds up to quite a lot. Our busier crews are getting about an hour back in their day.”
    • No double data entry from paper-based field charting to digital ePCR systems
    • Easy and more accurate reporting to regulatory bodies
    • Improved communication with partners and providers
    • Improved patient outcomes “Accurate documentation leads to improved patient outcomes.”


    Watch the webinar, “How Collecting Patient Data on Scene Improves Operational Outcomes,” to learn about real-world benefits of the new ZOLL emsCharts NOW companion app from a customer's point of view. You’ll also get a sneak peek from our team into additional functionality that’s on the horizon.


    Read More About ZOLL emsCharts NOW:

    Mobile Companion App Transforms the Way Medics Chart Patient Care From the Field

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