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Improving Processes to Innovate & Lead EMS into the Next Chapter

Lindsay Alexander | May 17, 2018

Mike Chmielewski, Lead Operations Supervisor for Commonwealth Health EMS has been involved in every piece of the agency’s ZOLL in-house roll outs over the past two years. Mark, Dispatcher, QA Coordinator and Radio Specialist for the same agency, uses CAD to improve response times, better deployment, logistics planning for busy times with short staff. He also uses Road Safety to monitor our vehicles and create teachable moments to promote safe driving practices. “These two individuals are dedicated to this field and are dedicated to improving the processes that innovate and lead EMS into the next chapter,” according to Joseph C. Moran, the agency’s Operations Manager. Mike and Mark are ZOLL Pulse Award winners. Here’s why:


Journey to a Fully Integrated System

When Commonwealth Health EMS rolled out RescueNet Dispatch, Mike worked alongside the Dispatch Supervisor to develop a system status plan that increased our 911 coverage and responses. The system status decreased the agency’s response times by approximately three minutes.

Mike has also been an integral part of the agency’s RescueNet ePCR deployment. With just under 300 employees to train, Mike led the team to keep crews moving in the right direction and improve their charting/documentation on the new system. He has been able to work through errors with crews, fix ongoing issues with the help of the IT Manager, and change the culture all while switching to ZOLL to better documentation/charting. “Mike has always embraced change, and stood by the ZOLL product line, because he wants to see improvement and provide the best for Commonwealth Health EMS’ crews and patients,” Moran said.

Commonwealth Health EMS started off as a company that used different software for ePCR, CAD and Billing.  Integration between all three components was a necessity. They went Live with RescueNet Dispatch in February of 2017 and live with RescueNet ePCR in January 2018. “We are seeing the successes of integration, first hand,” Moran said. “After crews became accustomed to the new program, it is taking less time for crews to complete their PCRs because of the RescueNet Dispatch integration.”


Using Innovation to Better the Department

Commonwealth Health EMS had huge ideas for their dispatch center and a budget that wasn't even close to covering all those ideas. The agency was told it would cost $2.2 million to complete the project. Mark joined the agency and led a team to build the dispatch center. He was able to complete the project for $160,000, including implementing RescueNet Dispatch.

He was able to do this in a number of ways. He decided that dispatch consoles would be purchased second hand from the local 911 center. This helped determine the final layout of the facility. Working with a local Motorola dealer, desk mounted base station radios were upgraded to an IP-based software solution running on PCs at dispatch positions. Everything from removing old carpeting to raising a section of floor, running data lines and the final installation and setup of consoles and new CAD computers running ZOLL software was done in house. Only minor electrical work to connect the new facility to emergency power was outsourced.

“Mark also has a knack for technology and is always innovating something to better the department,” Moran said. “He helps out with our IT department with server issues and other problems. Mark most recently took the reigns on the Road Safety system installs and software monitoring/management.”


In Their Own Words: Why Integration is the Key to Operational Efficiency for Commonwealth Health EMS

“We are capable of running our Dispatch Center with more appropriate equipment than previously. We have been able to handle an ever increasing call volume with more efficiency. Because the total integration of our radio system and telephone system, we are able to function much like a 911 PSAP.”

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