Enhancing First Responder SkillSets: EpiPens

Fire Fighter FIrst Responder LicenseIn this blog series, we’re going to discuss how we’ve helped many British Columbia fire departments enhance their patient care skills in order to provide better care in the field.

Firefighters are often the first emergency response personnel on the scene of an emergency, but are not permitted to use certain medical devices, like an epi auto-injector.   When there are BC Ambulance service delays or firefighters find themselves in remote rescue scenarios, it is beneficial to the patient if firefighters have the skills to assist patients to use life-saving medications.   This is why Iridia Medical continues to support first responders improving their patient care skills.

These days, firefighters can be in direct contact with BCAS dispatchers – key information about a patient’s condition can be immediately communicated between both parties.  This removes ambiguity and allows the BCAS to monitor and guide firefighters on how to best assist a patient with their Epi-pen.  With this enhanced communication and improved skillsets, firefighters are able to provide better patient care.   “We have taken an active role in providing this training because it is the right thing to do for patients” says Dr. Allan Holmes, Founder of Iridia Medical.  “What kind of care would you want a loved one to receive during a severe allergic reaction?” is the logic behind offering epi-pen training.

Today’s example will look at how Epinephrine Auto-injectors can positively impact patient outcomes.

Epinephrine Auto-injector

Considerable educational efforts have been undertaken so that teachers, coaches, and babysitters feel confident administering epi auto-injectors.  Unfortunately, firefighters with first responder licenses are not provided the same discretion.

Iridia has been actively supporting and training fire first responders to assist patients with administering their epi auto-injectors in emergency situations.  We support fire first responders enhancing their patient care skillset because:

  • Fire first responders are often first on the scene of a medical emergency – waiting several minutes for an ambulance to administer an epi auto-injector could negatively impact the patient.
  • Currently, fire first responders and BCAS can only administer oxygen to a patient they believe is having an allergic reaction – there is no provision in their current  training program to instruct FR on how  to assist a patient with an epi auto-injector.

epi pen auto injector

In the best case scenario, the patient is lucid enough to administer their epi auto-injector.  However, if a patient is panicking and can’t self-administer the medication (or has fallen unconscious), Iridia has trained first responders to act.  Our epi auto-injector program teaches first responders how to recognize allergic reaction indicators as well as when and how an epi-pen should be used[1]; and just as important, when it should not be used – skills we believe every first responder should know.

During a serious allergic reaction every second counts.  Delaying the administration of epinephrine can have serious consequences.  Providing first responders the discretion to assist and administer epi auto-injectors when they arrive on the scene of an allergic reaction emergency has the potential to significantly improve a patient’s outcome and reduces the potential for a sometimes fatal outcome.  

[1] Upon patient consent and oversight support from BCAS dispatch.

We Can Help Enhance Your First Responder Skills

Enhancing patient care skills requires coordinating many moving parts.  Training, equipment, and a medical oversight framework need to be considered.  In addition, it’s important that fire departments understand current regulations and the limitations of their current first responder license.  Over the past decade, Iridia Medical has successfully assisted fire departments of all sizes in implementing Epi auto-injector, pulse oximeter, and blood pressure measurement programs.

To learn more, contact Jason Bradley (jbradley@iridiamedical.com), Fire Services Program Lead, to get you started.

 

 

Specialist Physicians Realize the Future Lives in Surrey

Mayor Dianne Watts talks to media outside the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre in Surrey on June 8, 2011.

Mayor Dianne Watts talks to media outside the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre in Surrey on June 8, 2011.

If you talk to people who work in, or alongside, the healthcare industry, you will no doubt pick up a common theme related to physician resources — they are scarce and recruiting them is a veritable challenge. The situation is so serious that attracting specialist physicians is often identified as one of the major threats to success when opening a new hospital or adding additional beds to an existing facility.

It is precisely this contextual backdrop that makes what is happening in Surrey so intriguing.

Physicians are realizing that Surrey has the necessary ingredients to be one of the best places to practice the craft of medicine. Indeed, the historic trend that has seen Vancouver be the bigger draw when compared to communities such as Surrey is reversing as I write.

But, why Surrey? Quite simply, it is the patients. Canadians have made Surrey one of the fastest growing communities in Canada. The population growth has accelerated a healthcare infrastructure investment of over $750 million just in the last few years. Leading the way has been visionary Mayor Dianne Watts and her team, who are helping physicians, like many other Canadians, realize that, per the city slogan, “the future lives here.”

The specific appeal for physicians, in my opinion, is the combination of a unique patient population mix and the following characteristics:

1. A focus on culture

The major driving force bringing physicians to Surrey is the concerted effort to promote a new culture of healthcare innovation and excellence. A significant shift is now underway which is seeing Surrey positioning itself firmly among the traditional major players such as Vancouver General, St. Paul’s and Royal Columbian Hospitals.

This shift from its traditional role as a community hospital will see Surrey become a leading academic centre of excellence with enhanced research, academic and educational opportunities. This shift is attracting not only practicing physicians but also more and more physician learners who, once their training is completed, will plan to set up practice in Surrey.

2. The practice opportunities at the Pattison centre

jim pattison outpatient care and surgery centre

Many physicians have been afforded the unique opportunity to practice in the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre, the first stand-alone dedicated outpatient facility of its kind in Western Canada. What is making physicians so enthusiastic about the Jim Pattison centre? Well like the name implies, only outpatients are seen.

Here physicians can focus directly on the patients at hand without the constant interruptions for emergency and urgent cases that comes when clinics are located within hospitals. This allows a cardiologist, radiologist, or orthopedic surgeon to be highly efficient in the delivery of their care. The design of the Jim Pattison centre was heavily influenced by LEAN methodology, which reduces the inefficiencies in patient flow and maximizes the effectiveness of care delivery. In short more order, less chaos.

3. The Surrey redevelopment and expansion project

A major redevelopment and expansion effort is underway in Surrey including the building of an eight-storey Critical Care Tower on the Surrey Hospital campus. This state of the art facility will add 120 beds to the Surrey campus including much-needed emergency department capacity as well as both adult and neonatal critical care beds. This development is bringing some of the latest technology, equipment and care models to Surrey and the physicians are anxiously awaiting the opening of this new facility.

With the population mix that it has, and the traits outlined above, it is no wonder that Surrey has managed to attract some of the best physicians to the city.

And this certainly bodes well for the future, as in my experience, once doctors begin to practice in Surrey, they often remain committed to the region for their career. With an opportunity to raise their kids in a thriving and vibrant community and to practice great medicine, why would they move?

So while many people from within and around the healthcare industry will make commentary about the challenges associated with securing quality physicians, it is refreshing to have a story like Surrey’s to brighten the picture ever so slightly.

Dr. Allan Holmes grew up in Surrey and has spent the last 20 years working within the Fraser Health Authority in a variety of capacities. Recently he served as the hospital medical co-ordinator of the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Center and his current role is the physician resource planning consultant for the Surrey Memorial Hospital Redevelopment and Expansion Project. Dr. Holmes is also the founder of Iridia Medical, a continuing medical education provider and regional distributor of automated external defibrillators.

Recent Changes at Iridia Prepare Company for Future Growth

Every young entrepreneurial company reaches a crossroad when it must position itself for long term sustainable growth. Our company reached that pivotal point toward the end of 2012 when Vern Biccum took on the role of President and Dr. Allan Holmes assumed the title of Founder.

When Iridia was founded in 1998 by Dr. Allan Holmes, he represented the entire workforce. Today, we have grown to include four divisions, each with its own team of staff. Indeed, things have gone well. We have been one of the province’s fastest growing firms for two years running, and have been very fortunate to see demand for services growing.

So why introduce a change?

We believe that all progressive companies make time for introspection. Honestly assessing the way in which a business is run, and confronting the reality of the findings is both healthy and prudent. When we assessed Iridia, the words of Good to Great author Jim Collins rang in our ears. He advocates strongly for having the right people on the bus (read “in the company”), and then figuring out where they should sit (read “what role they should fill”). Applied to Iridia, we recognized that we had selected members of our senior team that could benefit from a seat swap.

 


With more and more operational demands being made of Allan’s time, he wasn’t able to focus as much energy on his areas of expertise and passion. In the Founder role, Allan will be able to redirect his energies to these foci while Vern will apply his business acumen and strategic leadership to the running of the firm.

“This role change represents a natural transition which has been planned for the past couple of years”, says Allan. “I can provide much more benefit to the company by focusing on select areas such as Physician Engagement services and clearing the way for Vern to implement our long term growth strategy. It will also allow me to continue building a physician network and consulting team for the company.”

“We are leveraging our unique skills and interests to further build the company’s infrastructure and foundation,” says Vern. “Allan gets fired up by the challenges of healthcare and I want to make Iridia one of the top 100 companies in B.C. to work for. Allan will continue to support the business units at Iridia as his time allows. I see my challenges as focusing more on the actual organization, which includes helping our staff become more strategic and financially literate. I have a five-year plan to achieve these goals.”

Prince George Fire Rescue – EMR Trial

On June 11th, 2012 our Founder at Iridia, Dr. Allan Holmes spoke to the Prince George City Council to give an update on the Emergency Medical Response (EMR) trial currently underway with Prince George Fire Rescue (PGFR).

As the Medical Director for PGFR, Dr. Holmes was tasked with delivering a presentation summarizing the project to date.

View the presentation:

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Prince George Fire Rescue – Chief John Lane:

“The EMR Program has proven safe, cost effective, and has improved the emergency medical care provided to Prince George’s citizens.  The results have been presented at a meeting of the Provincial Medical Leadership Council (PMLC) on May 10, 2012.  The PMLC was urged to recommend to the Emergency and Health Services Commission (EHSC) that the Prince George EMR Program is made permanent, and that similar initiatives by other Fire Services in BC be approved.  The PMLC was also urged to recommend the EHSC follow provincial regulation and EMA Licensing Branch policy compelling individuals to provide care at their license level at all times.”

Read the full staff report to Prince George City Council:

Prince George Fire Rescue

At Iridia we are thrilled to have the opportunity to have worked with John Lane and Prince George Fire Rescue in the development of the EMR trial. We truly hope this is just the beginning for pre-hospital care.

Welcoming the new Medical Coordinator at the JPOCSC

On April 1st, 2012, our president and founder, Dr. Allan Holmes assumed his role as the Hospital Medical Coordinator at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre (JPOCSC) in Surrey, BC.

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Medical Coordinator at the JPOCSC

In this position, Dr. Holmes is responsible for providing leadership and coordination for the medical staff practicing in the different Programs functioning in the facility. He will also ensure medical staff activities at the facility are consistent with the overall facility and program direction.

We are certain that Dr. Holmes will serve well in this role and will contribute in a significant and meaningful way to FH’s vision of delivering the best health care possible.