Watch for future Telehealth Champions blog posts. These articles will focus on the people who help make Telehealth a reality. It is my pleasure to share their stories and contributions to the health and well being of society. ~ Kimberly McKee
The Arkansas Trauma Communications Center (ATCC) located in Little Rock, houses the emergency call hub, which includes two, dedicated 24×7-positions that support the trauma and hand injury programs. Arkansas is the first state in the nation to offer state-wide trauma coverage. Arkansas law requires that those who support the trauma programs hold either a paramedic or nursing license.
During a recent visit to ATCC, I had the opportunity to visit the emergency call hub and meet the trauma support staff members. As I observed the hub, I watched and listened as the people and the technology monitored all helicopter, ambulance and trauma transfers happening in the state. Between calls, I was able to talk with the trauma support staff about their roles.
Meet Jeff Tabor
Jeff started his career as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). He currently serves as the Program Director for MEMS. Jeff has worked with the trauma system since it was developed.
Meet Johnny Grimes, Paramedic
Johnny began supporting the trauma program when it went live in 2011. He had previously worked as a street paramedic.
Surrounded by a wall of monitors that displayed the status of all emergency resources across seven regions of the state, Johnny talked about his role with the trauma programs. he said, “I believe that the trauma system and the hand injury Telemedicine consultations make a difference. In the past, a small hospital took hours or days to find appropriate help. Now, within five minutes, we have information and make a connection to the appropriate facility. Even the smallest hospitals in the state have Telemedicine carts, which enables immediate support for trauma care.”
The biggest technology change that Johnny has seen in the paramedic field is the elimination of paper. He said, “Now we have tablets on the trucks. We can immediately download information about each call and send EKG data to emergency departments. This saves lives.”
Meet Kat Jendregas, Paramedic
Kat began working with trauma support approximately 7 years ago. Prior to joining the team, she worked at a detention center and completed an internship with a county coroner.
According to Kat, an interesting aspect of her job is watching the blending of personalities during collaborative efforts. She said, “When a hospital calls, there is a lot of excitement. Once we (ATCC) make the connection between the attending emergency department and the specialist, the tone becomes calm. In the virtual exam room, teamwork brings all the different personalities together and allows them to focus on the patient’s needs.”
The biggest technology change that Kat has seen in the ATCC is the use of iPads to communicate with doctors in virtual exam rooms. Kat said, “Instead of relaying information, doctors can physically see what is happening with a patient and treat him/her more quickly.”
Jeff, Johnny, Kat and the entire team make a difference every day, with every call. They assist in turning hours and days into seconds and minutes. They help save lives. I am thankful for their service.
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