Long Island EMS System Is Using Telehealth in New Ways to Protect Healthcare Workers and Patients
Backline for Telehealth Connecting Paramedics and EMTs With Physicians to Treat Patients in the Field
Rockville, Md., May 14, 2020 – As the New York metropolitan area continues its battle against the spread of the novel coronavirus, an innovative use of telehealth by the Town of Hempstead in Long Island for its emergency medical services (EMS) is helping protect patients and healthcare workers from unnecessary exposure. The program is a result of a partnership between Long Island’s Town of Hempstead, which is the largest township in the U.S., and DrFirst, a pioneer in technology, support, and services that connect people at touchpoints of patient care.
The town’s EMS system began using DrFirst’s Backline award-winning care collaboration platform to launch its telehealth program in mid-April.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, our number one priority is keeping our patients and healthcare providers safe. Using Backline means our paramedics and EMTs (emergency medical technicians) can have video calls with physicians who can help them fully assess, treat and release patients in the field,” said David Neubert, M.D., emergency medical director of the Town of Hempstead. “This helps our paramedics and emergency medical technicians prevent hospital surge and take care of patients in new ways, including proactively checking on senior citizens in the community.”
Using Backline’s secure telehealth connections, paramedics and EMTs can conduct their initial assessments of patients, then consult with a physician in real-time to discuss next steps, which may include treating and discharging patients without needing to transport them to a hospital emergency department. Under these new protocols and with physician supervision through telehealth, paramedics and EMTs can provide a higher level of care than previously allowed.
“Paramedics and EMTs are very well trained and save lives every day as part of their typical duties,” said Neubert. “But being able to have a telehealth consultation with a physician while they are assessing and treating the patient is a game-changer—getting patients the care they need and taking the burden off of hospitals.” Neubert notes that “patients are truly appreciative of this program. Nobody wants to go to the hospital right now if they can safely avoid it.”
Starting with an executive order by New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, the town’s new use of telehealth for its EMS system is a result of vision and teamwork throughout the community, including the town supervisors, the EMS staff, the fire department, and the health department. “The Town of Hempstead’s EMS department has become a model for other townships across Long Island and the country thanks to the leadership of our medical director, Dr. David Neubert, and his entire team,” said Don Clavin, Hempstead town supervisor. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Neubert and the Town of Hempstead EMS have implemented innovative strategies and protocols to protect the health and safety of both the workforce and the residents of America’s largest township. By utilizing telehealth, the town’s EMS squad is able to enhance its ability to provide top-quality and individualized care to its patients and to expand its efforts to assist the most vulnerable members of the community, including our senior citizens.”
The town was able to fully implement Backline for telehealth in just a few days. “The Town of Hempstead was able to move quickly to set up this new use of telehealth to help protect their residents,” said G. Cameron Deemer, president of DrFirst. “They showed unique vision and teamwork to make it happen.”
The ease of Backline’s implementation also contributed to the program’s success, according to Neubert. “Backline for telehealth was so easy to set up; it immediately allowed us to be mobile with telemedicine. It literally worked out of the box,” he said. Backline’s secure communications comply with HIPAA regulations to protect patient’s private health information and can provide paramedics and EMTs with patients’ medication histories.
Since 2000, DrFirst has pioneered healthcare technology solutions and consulting services that securely connect people at touchpoints of care to improve patient outcomes. We create unconventional solutions that solve care collaboration, medication management, price transparency, and adherence challenges faced in healthcare. We unite the Healthiverse—the interconnected healthcare universe—by providing our clients with real-time access to the information they need, exactly when and how they need it, so patients get the best care possible. DrFirst solutions are used by nearly 300,000 healthcare professionals, including more than 100,000 prescribers, nearly half of the EHRs in the U.S., and more than 1,400 hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. To learn more, visit DrFirst.com.