As Emergency medical services (EMS) and Fire professionals, you are part of a team that puts everything on the line every day to fulfill your mission of saving lives. I am both inspired and humbled by the work you do, and I feel a great sense of pride knowing that the products my teams are developing support you in fulfilling this important mission. Over the years, many EMS and Fire leaders and field users have helped drive continuous improvement in ZOLL® Data Systems software solutions. This collaborative relationship has helped — and will continue to help — us develop products that serve your needs better.
ZOLL’s history is steeped in innovation and use of advanced technology, starting in 1956 when our founder, Paul M. Zoll, MD, became the first physician to successfully use external defibrillation to regulate heart rhythms in patients. His discovery contributed significantly to the decrease in heart disease mortality over the decades that followed and paved the way for our industry-leading devices and software solutions that are in widespread use today.
Now, we are building on our legacy. We are harnessing advanced technologies to propel our solutions forward. The ZOLL Data Systems product vision is based on our commitment to helping you achieve your mission with greater ease and better outcomes. Our division is advancing rapidly toward a cloud-based model because of the numerous benefits it offers to our EMS and Fire customers. These benefits can, quite simply, make your work lives easier. So, we’ve set our sights high: we aim to develop the best cloud-based solution suite conceivable, purpose-built for EMS and Fire professionals.
ZOLL Data Systems built our reputation on on-premises, enterprise software solutions. So, you may be wondering why we are turning our development focus to cloud-based software. The underpinning principle for all our cloud solutions is simplicity and ease of use for our customers. Cloud-based means that you don’t have to worry about the technical responsibilities of maintaining and upgrading software, databases, and operating systems. All of that is handled in the background.
The software solutions we offer must be intuitive to use. We believe that it should be possible to figure things out without much training and to get up to speed quickly. Our billing and other software must be fast and easy to use so that users can focus on capturing optimum revenue to keep agencies financially healthy and able to grow organically, investing in new ways to serve their communities.
Technology is ever evolving. Who would have thought 20 years ago that we would be where we are today, using mobile devices for video communication, navigation, banking, and remotely controlling our home appliances? We are challenged to think in new ways to develop solutions that streamline your work and help improve outcomes. For example, our team is investigating leading-edge technologies, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and serverless computing to continuously improve your user experience. Already, our cloud-based solutions scale automatically so that you can grow your business organically, in step with demand for services. And to combat ever-changing cyber threats, we build state-of-the-art security into every solution to protect your data from hacker and ransomware attacks. What I’m describing is truly market-driven innovation.
Yet, while there is ample opportunity to enhance features and respond nimbly to changing user needs at the product level, just as valuable is a broader, ubiquitous capability: interoperability.
Think of interoperability as data sharing — the ability to seamlessly access and deliver data where it is needed, within and across organizational and geographic boundaries. Interoperability enables timely, automatic data sharing, thereby optimizing care and outcomes for individuals. It also makes it possible to capture complete pre-hospital and hospital information for timely, accurate billing. The treasure chest of data collected and shared provides insight into how to best serve populations, clinically and financially — all while driving greater efficiency across business operations.
What if you could share with your billing department all the relevant clinical and demographic information gathered by your dispatch and ePCR software and by the devices in your ambulance? And, what if that information was available to hospital providers through the EMR before the patient arrived at the emergency department? Likewise, what if updated patient demographic and billing data collected by the hospital as they processed that patient could be shared automatically back to the EMS agency that transported and treated that patient? Interoperability between the ePCR and billing software and between EMS and hospital — across devices, software, and systems — makes this kind of fluid collaboration possible. Imagine the amount of time and resources saved and improved patient financial experience, not to mention the immeasurable impact of communicating critical patient information in real time to improve quality of care. These are just a few simple examples to illustrate the power and potential of interoperability in healthcare.
Interoperability is quickly becoming the most important need for prehospital and other healthcare providers. ZOLL Data Systems is working toward a truly integrated EMS and Fire solution suite that meets user needs and can “talk” to all the entities inside and outside your agency with which you must exchange information. To achieve this goal, we need to address three different kinds of interoperability:
A cloud-based approach is good for you because it reduces your cost and worry. As mentioned earlier, you don’t need to carry the overhead associated with hosted or on-premises approaches. For example, with a fully cloud-based billing solution like ZOLL Billing, you receive automatic upgrades at regular intervals — at least bi-weekly. There’s none of the cost or complexity of internally managed upgrades and databases; you benefit from iterative enhancements that flow seamlessly into your solution in the background, with virtually no effort from you.
Since the upgrades are frequent, there’s also the benefit of continuous learning; users adopt new features and capabilities naturally, as they become available. As a result, the steep learning curves often associated with major releases are mostly relics of the past.
Beyond the core functionality of our cloud-based solutions, a huge benefit is stringent security. We develop on the Amazon Web Services platform — known as AWS — which is the global leader in both security and compliance. AWS is a strategic enabler for us. They are the largest cloud infrastructure provider in the world and serves a diverse, international customer base. Many of their customers require extreme data privacy and security requirements, for example, those in the financial and government sectors. AWS has the largest network of security partners and solutions, and ZOLL Data Systems leverages these to build automated privacy and security requirements into our product architecture.
From a compliance perspective, a cloud-based approach allows us to act rapidly when industry requirements change. The latest NEMSIS format changes and Medicare fee schedules, for example, are automatically updated for you, so you can go about your work without worry.
The benefits go on and on. I hope you can understand why I’m so excited about our product vision and can say that our solutions will make life easier for our EMS and Fire customers. Our approach reflects our dedication to helping you deliver more care while establishing the framework for the best possible outcomes across the continuum of care.
We know that we can achieve these goals, thanks to the remarkable access, availability, efficiency, flexibility, and security that the cloud provides. One thing is certain: the path to the cloud leads to better clinical and operational performance, and that will certainly translate into saving more lives.