I know there are probably agencies out there with some real control issues, but the use of technology that monitors your EMS system are not really about employee surveillance. Sometimes this monitoring is actually about your protection, but most often I believe it is about creating a competitive advantage that will help your agency survive in a bad economy and within an industry that is currently favoring consolidation. Increasing demand for emergency services is not enough to ensure that there will always be the funds needed to keep it operating at the level the community expects – especially under the same operations strategies in place since before the financial crisis of 2008 or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The world, and more importantly prehospital health care, is fundamentally different today and your job depends on your system adapting to it.
System monitoring typically starts by knowing where your vehicles are. GPS transmitters are capable of reporting location and many Computer Aided Dispatch systems are able to visualize that data and even recommend vehicles to incidents based on actual proximity and drive-time instead of a simple reported location. And that recommendation can even be based on the type of vehicle or skills of the team weighed against travel time. One concern of providers, however, is the employer always knowing where they are. But relax, the only way a monitor will see you somewhere you shouldn’t be is if you are somewhere you shouldn’t be. But again, monitoring your habits is not the important application for dispatchers knowing where available units are right now. Better response equals better service and can also improve safety. These are the keys to system survival.