As a public or private emergency medical provider, we all depend on our communities’ trust to deliver on our mission statement. We have to show up to their most critical of needs to impact their outcome in a positive way. It’s our job to deliver them safely to definitive care as well as return our providers back to their loved ones in the same condition they began their shift. Northland Regional Ambulance District (NRAD)’s story of Road Safety began as a projection of the statement above. We had a good safety record, we had no vehicle on vehicle traffic incidents in the past five years, and no employees injured for collisions. We had some anecdotal complaints of our operators and their safety in regard to speed and traffic laws, but no data to support or defend the accusation or more importantly the provider.
NRAD has three stations, with locations in Smithville, Platte City and Camden Point in Northwest Missouri serving suburban and rural areas just outside of Kansas City. There are a total of four 24-hour ALS ambulances, one 24-hour paramedic supervisor during peak and 30 drivers. NRAD receives around 3,000 calls for service a year, more than doubling the requests for service since its inception in 1994.
As we continue to put safety as a priority in the industry, we have to commit to not only being safe when someone is watching, but also in the wee hours of the morning when we have life’s most precious cargo we are responsible for delivering safely to the hospital.
NRAD’s Road Safety Journey
We convinced our elected board to invest in Road Safety by using the concept of everyone goes home – an initiative by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to prevent line-of-duty deaths and injuries – and by citing calamities that were happening in the area with other agencies. We were able to demonstrate to them that a driver feedback system such as Road Safety would not only guarantee our crew goes home, but that our patients and community are safe as well.
Our day is occupied by many objectives, and monitoring the safety of our fleet should be toward the top of any leaders’ list; however, time is fleeting for the daily supervisor to follow vehicles and measure their safety performance. As we continue to put safety as a priority in the industry, we have to commit to not only being safe when someone is watching, but also in the wee hours of the morning when we have life’s most precious cargo we are responsible for delivering safely to the hospital.
Benefits of a Driver Feedback System: Safer Drivers & Improved Patient Satisfaction
Road Safety is on 24/7 and provides immediate feedback to the driver and to the supervisor on any violations, which holds all of our crew to the same standards. It also provides the data to build upon what is working for our system and what behaviors need to be changed. We have seen our citizen complaints, such as drivers not using a blinker or using red lights just to go through an intersection, all but disappear and our satisfaction scores rise tremendously in comfort of transport. We used to get complaints once or twice a month, and now, at most, we receive only one complaint per year. We also recently achieved a score of 94 percent for overall quality of service from independent patient satisfaction surveys and 92 percent for medical care received.
We continue to develop our system and find ways to improve our own safety culture; Road Safety has been the center of our fleet operations safety program from the beginning.