Tuesday, March 23, 2010


This is a guest post by Greg Bartlett. If you're interested in submitting a guest post, please contact me.

A little-known app may just be making its way to an EMS near you.

A few years ago, a Fire-Rescue Department paramedic in San Diego developed a simple smartphone application called TapChart that replaced the bubble-field data forms completed by first responders after an incident. Little more than a basic data entry program in the beginning, the app was picked up by the San Diego Medical Services Enterprise (SDMSE) and implemented on a wide scale within the California city. Other technologies such as GPS tracking had aided vehicle management, but the post-response information flow was still in the dark ages.

First responders found TapChart’s simple interface compelling, and the SDMSE added a couple extra features to help improve patient care, as well as ease the reporting system. TapChart now includes a dynamic interview system which can offer question suggestions to EMS based on the patient’s situation and responses. There’s also a built-in database which includes suggested doses and treatments for a variety of conditions. SDMSE aims to have an all-in-one reference guide packed with a data management system into smartphones which are already used by responders who value their GPS tracking devices and internet capabilities.

TapChart may be getting even bigger and better soon. ImageTrend, a software development company with experience in medical technology, has partnered with SDMSE to create a more advanced version of the app that can take full advantage of a smartphone’s Bluetooth and GPS tracking technology and can be used nationwide. The next version will feature a more streamlined data entry and reporting process, as well as options for customizing particular forms. Additionally, the app will be integrated with whatever camera the smartphone features, allowing responders to give medical services management a clearer picture of a particular incident.

As EMS increasingly integrates smartphone technology into the response process, software developers must focus on designing simple, low-concept applications that are less prone to bugs or user-created complications. TapChart’s potential to integrate previously independent technologies like communication and GPS tracking seems like a good start.

You can request a 90-day trial version of TapChart here.

Greg Batlett is a guest author who specializes in writing about health and technology, including GPS and insurance, and has earned two master’s degrees.

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