Seattle Fire Dept

Increasing triage accuracy in the world’s top EMS Department

Public Safety

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Seattle Fire Dept

Key Challenges

Without visibility into the gaps in their protocols and protocol adherence, Seattle Fire Department were over-triaging and under-triaging patients across the board. Driving up costs and putting patients at risk.

Key Results

With Corti, Seattle Fire Department now uses Corti’s advanced technology to analyze both protocols and protocol adherence - catching inaccurate prioritizations before they impact cost or patient safety.

A division within the Seattle Fire Department, MedicOne is responsible for 149,000 emergency-medical calls per year. They have a proven track record of innovation and though they already led the industry in patient survival rates for cardiac, they wanted to further improve their capabilities.

Specifically, MedicOne was not satisfied with the off-the-shelf protocols they relied on and wanted the ability to customize protocol.

Staff retention and empowerment was also a top concern.

MedicOne understood that they needed a better technological solution than they currently had.

The team was attracted to Corti for our intuitive decision-support software. We proposed using a structured question-answer approach based on an already defined protocol to begin. This solution allowed the EMS team to then modify protocols and benchmark improvement. This ability to trial protocol enhancements significantly improved decision accuracy.

As innovators deeply invested in empowering their team, they knew that analyzing calls was key to understanding their process. But only 0.25% of calls were being reviewed, and usually in response to customer complaints. Reviews took 30-40 minutes to complete and ever-increasing call volumes meant that increasing the number of calls reviewed simply could not be done manually.

The team at MedicOne were excited to implement Corti’s AI-based solution in order to automatically analyze 100% of calls. This also accelerated any manual review the team still preferred to do themselves by utilizing Corti’s annotation feature, which evaluates and labels all calls.

“Before partnering with Corti, we were looking for a solution that would allow us to reduce and standardize call time and build our own protocols. Reviewing protocols took us hours, and changes were hard to make. Corti’s Triage solution helped to change this.”

–  Hilton Almond, Seattle Fire Department Firefighter/Dispatcher 

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Faster and identification and triage on stroke and cardiac-arrest calls were two key performance indicators in our partnership. Corti and MedicOne trialed different question combinations on these calls using Corti’s protocol editor in order to optimize the triaging flow. We followed an iterative Planning, Developing, Setting, and Adjusting (PDSA) iterative framework model with an eye towards continuous quality improvement. By taking deep dives into recorded call data, we evaluated each protocol’s overall performance. For example, we determined the median time it took for call takers to establish the patient’s consciousness and then structured a plan to improve upon it.

After they adjusted key questions in Corti’s protocol editor, including their order and phrasing, we found a decrease in the time it took call takers to identify key medical information. Stroke calls alone decreased by 13% overall. Shaving off these valuable minutes in each call led to faster dispatch of resources and thereby faster medical treatment.

While better triage on stroke and cardiac-arrest calls led SFD to partner with Corti, they quickly understood that our partnership could help them navigate the new landscape of COVID-19 when the pandemic descended in 2020. With the need to create a brand-new protocol, understand its effectiveness, and change it as new information unfolded, they had no better tool at their disposal than Corti. In addition to rapidly deploying their new protocol, we also implemented a series of COVID-19 keyword detections to help call takers recognize such calls.

"Corti offers us the ability to write, change, and update our medical protocols easily and quickly, and this was never more important than when COVID-19 began to spread. Not only were we able to make those changes easily but also incorporate information about COVID-19 that we could provide the caller," says Almond.

In addition, these advanced content editing capabilities allowed immediate protocol adjustments - in only 16 hours -  when COVID-19 first hit the Seattle area. These advanced content capabilities allow staff to process weekly updates through easy-to-use functionality. However it is not only for significant emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Corti’s Triage offers custom content capabilities that provide easy-to-integrate protocols for state guidelines or regional medical protocols needed for an immediate response to any medical crisis. Another advantage of the Corti integration is an improved approach to triaging high acuity calls. Feedback and new process iterations happen much faster and updates across the protocol system can happen more efficiently. This improvement can result in significantly faster call processing times for high acuity calls where immediate life-saving intervention is required.

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Corti has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 823383
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