Students attending healthcare training at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) will soon have automated capabilities to track patients during mass casualty exercises.

The software includes the ability to scan bar codes on triage tags, linking patients directly to a specific number, ensuring that the patient is properly identified, especially when it comes to giving him or her medications. Additionally, photographs and pertinent information such as a patient’s name, age, gender, symptoms, associated injuries and treatment provided can also be recorded in the system. The software also allows students to securely transmit patient information to the incident command, hospital command center, and public health office, providing a common operating picture of the mass casualty incident, facilitating the community’s integrated response.

“We’re incorporating software that can be used on a majority of smart devices found on the commercial market today,” said Jesse Giddens, CDP healthcare training manager. “These devices allow students to input and record emergency casualty care data into an automated patient tracking system. The system facilitates rapid identification of patients as they move through the continuum of care, from the point of injury, through EMS disaster response teams, to the receiving hospital’s treatment areas. And, as appropriate, follow-on discharge, transfer to specialty hospitals, trauma centers, alternate care sites, shelters, and mortuary facilities.”

The system also provides situational awareness for health sector providers, emergency managers, and decision makers in the allocation of critical resources during a mass casualty response. CDP officials said the data transmission can be used in conjunction with popular web-based programs found in a majority of first responder command and control elements.

The CDP expects to fully incorporate the patient tracking technology into training over the next six months. The technology will be used in the majority of the healthcare courses. The full capability and efficiency of the devices will be implemented incrementally during each of the upcoming Integrated Capstone Events programs.

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