Collaboration Between 911 and EMS in Bend, Oregon, Gets Big Results
|Every year I enjoy attending Navigator, the annual meeting of the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. At this year’s conference, held last month in Las Vegas, we were again proud to honor graduates of the Communications Center Manager course during the opening ceremonies. Fitch & Associates created the program with IAED more than 15 years ago and it now has more than 400 alumni.
In their session at Navigator, Captain Petar Hossick of the Bend Fire Department and Megan Craig, director of training for the 911 Center for Deschutes County, in central Oregon, highlighted a key leadership component that we emphasize in our courses: the ability to foster collaboration. It is one of the most important traits for an EMS leader in this era of growing integration—and, in my estimation, a grossly underdeveloped talent.
Captain Hossick and Ms. Craig began a journey of collaboration four years ago to improve their community’s sudden cardiac arrest survival rates. They realized that to make a difference they needed to work as a team to implement Telephone CPR in dispatch and High Performance CPR in the field. Although the fire department and communications center worked together every day, collaborating on this effort brought them closer and showed them the difference they could make when they truly collaborated. Telecommunicators and field EMS providers learned about each other’s roles, tracked system performance data and celebrated success together with survivors.
The team reported that SCA survival rates more than tripled since the beginning of the initiative, with an annual rate that now exceeds 50% for witnessed arrests in a shockable rhythm.
|The team reported that SCA survival rates more than tripled since the beginning of the initiative, with an annual rate that now exceeds 50% for witnessed arrests in a shockable rhythm. You can read more about this successful collaboration in this recent article in the Journal of Emergency Dispatch.
I will talk about Bend, other examples and practical ways you can sharpen your skills in a special session The Power of Collaboration at Pinnacle this July. It’s truly inspirational to see different agencies work together like this to serve patients. We can all learn from the example they’re setting.
Jay Fitch, PhD
Founding Partner, Fitch & Associates