Death by paper cut

Well today, as you may or may not know the the Ambulance Paramedics in Victoria escalated their bans as they plug along in what is the third year of their dispute with Ambulance Victoria.

There are a number of bans, most of which are administrative, but the one that the government and Ambulance Victoria seem most upset about is the decision by paramedics not to complete electronic patient care notes.
They are instead reverting to older paper based patient care records which contain exactly the same information, at times more detailed information due to the free hand nature of the paper based records over the inflexible menu based structure of the computerised version.

Ambulance Victoria it would seem have briefed the Health Minister that this is somehow “a threat to life”, yet I for the life of me cannot figure out how.

Firstly, these paper based reports are still routinely used by first responder and community paramedics within AV without it would seem gross loss of life.
They are routinely used by non emergency transport contractors to AV, and I have heard no outcry about loss of life or injury to patients there.
They are also used as the redundancy for when the computer based system fails for some reason on emergency ambulances and I certainly have never seen any of my patients suffer because of them.

Secondly, the paper based reports are much quicker to complete as they are simply easier to write than navigating complex menu structures within the VACIS program, and as such ambulances are in fact likely to become available more quickly, thereby increasing availability to respond to emergency calls.

Thirdly, paramedics have already suffered some quite serious injuries from the use of the computer tablets, so much so that OH&S reps have already put improvement notices on their use in a moving vehicle due to risk of injury to the user.
As a result AV has issued a directive that the computers are NOT to be used in a moving ambulance.

Finally, for now at least, as a result of their not being used in a moving vehicle they are something that must be completed after a case when the patient is at the hospital.
Therefore they bear NO Bearing directly on patient outcome as they are completed after the patient has left the care of paramedics.

So, pray tell Ambulance Victoria, where is the risk to life?
Paper cuts?


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One Response to Death by paper cut

  1. Clive Wawn says:

    Medical staff have always preferred the green sheet anyway. It’s much easier to read and specific. That’s mostly why I always refused to use the VACIS prior to my escaping AV!! The other reason was the poor software database architecture – I seemed to always end up (before I ditched it) with an awful lot of “Animal Related Injuries”

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