First EMS Responders Begin New On Site COVID-19 Testing
FDA fast-tracked new blood and mucous diagnostics to more effectively identify who has COVID-19
Phoenix Paramedic Solutions will become among the first emergency responders in the country to deploy the recently-approved rapid-testing, onsite Coronavirus (COVID-19) blood or mucous diagnostic screen, which will be used in conjunction with the HealthCall COVID-19 Telehealth Screening and Monitoring application.
Based in Lafayette, Indiana, Phoenix Paramedic Solutions provides emergency services and care to addiction centers, clinics, and companies across three counties, including small businesses and manufacturers. Speeding up screening will help EMS and other healthcare providers on the frontlines of this pandemic to quickly identify who needs to be quarantined and treated, including people who unknowingly carry the virus but do not have symptoms.
Phoenix Paramedics will first screen patients remotely using the HealthCall COVID-19 Telehealth Screening and Monitoring application, which can be done by phone or video, and includes questionnaire prompts specific to coronavirus based upon CDC guidelines. Patients who meet the criteria for further COVID-19 evaluation will undergo onsite testing from a visiting paramedic from Phoenix Paramedic Solutions, who will then recommend quarantine, quarantine with automated monitoring of new or worsening symptoms, or hospitalization if symptoms are severe.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expedited review and approval of COVID-19 diagnostic testing from several laboratories, which work by scanning the blood or mucous samples for antibodies. One test, from Abbott Laboratories, delivers positive results in five minutes using throat, nose or ear swabs.
COVID-19 is a novel virus in which the majority of people do not have immunity. Infections have skyrocketed across the United States throughout the month of March, overwhelming 911 systems nationwide as well as community hospitals. At the time of this article, the United States currently leads the world in COVID infections, with more than 140,000 cases in all 50 states and climbing, with the majority of cases in the New York City area, and more than 2,400 deaths.
HealthCall Telehealth Screening and Monitoring application is completely web-based, meaning that paramedics and patients do not need additional hardware or software to access the telehealth service. Once enrolled, HealthCall provides paramedics with a username and password, enabling paramedics to assess patients remotely. The HealthCall application includes secure video capabilities to enable remote screening of patients in the safety of their own homes. Paramedics answering 911 calls from patients can send an encrypted link to the patient via email and text, which patients can click on to securely connect via video and proceed with an assessment of their symptoms. Additionally, the HealthCall-APR system enables ongoing automated monitoring of patient symptoms and well-being.
“This is a critical time for our healthcare system and our providers need every tool available to them,” said Daniel Hayes, founder and chief executive officer of HealthCall. “Remote virtual screening can be an important first step that protects our paramedics from unnecessary exposure. Hopefully, as diagnostics continue, we will turn the tide with this outbreak.”
About Phoenix Paramedic Solutions
Phoenix Paramedic Solutions is a leading innovator in EMS care and community paramedicine. Along with traditional EMS services, Phoenix Paramedic Solutions provides corporate wellness programs; operates the first EMS-directed peer support program reducing overdoses by 36% in the community; and facilitates the first community-based point of crisis enrollment program providing care for mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Being the leading provider of mobilized healthcare is driven by simply doing what is right for our patients, our community, and our associates.