The ambulance units servicing the City of South Lake Tahoe and Meyers community have integrated electronic equipment to contribute to the best possible patient care decisions for heart attack patients. By utilizing Bluetooth technology included in their Zoll monitors, their new Blackberry phones provide a Bluetooth signal to send the EKG heart readings immediately to the ER physician (securely encrypted) via email, fax & weblink.
The American Heart Association recommends the time from encountering a patient to the time the patient is under treatment at a cardiac cath lab to be 90 minutes or less (AHA, 2012). By including this new equipment, an ECG can be interpreted by the ER physician to confirm the presence of a heart attack and recommend transport to the closest cath lab.
The closest cardiac cath lab for South Tahoe is Carson Tahoe Hospital. The cardiac cath lab is the preferred treatment for most heart attack patients producing the greatest rate of survival (AHA, 2012).
The Cal Tahoe Joint Power Association (JPA) provides funding for three ambulance units on the south shore, which are a part of The City of South Lake Tahoe Fire Department and Lake Valley Fire Districts. There are two ambulance units within the City of South Lake Tahoe, and one in the Meyers / El Dorado County jurisdiction. All three ambulance units are currently using this new equipment funded by the Cal Tahoe JPA. The Cal Tahoe JPA recently, unanimously decided to purchase this equipment in an effort to allow the ambulance service to provide the best possible care.
According to The American Heart Association “In the ideal system for EMS and EDs, standardized point of entry protocols (created by state-based coalitions of EMS personnel, emergency physicians and cardiologists, and supported by payers and administrators) would establish which patients are transported to the nearest hospital and which patients are transported to the nearest STEMI-Receiving hospital” (AHA, 2012).
By incorporating this new equipment into current practice, The City of South Lake Tahoe Fire Department and Lake Valley Fire District are aligning with the AHA’s recommendations to more quickly determine the most appropriate patient destination.
For questions regarding this new equipment, please contact Kim George, City of South Lake Tahoe Fire Department Engineer / Paramedic at (530) 307-9596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.