Norwich Township medics are expected to spend less time at area hospitals after a new procedure for filing patient-care reports is implemented.
Upon the recommendation of the Norwich Township Division of Fire, the trustees on Jan. 9 approved a contract with iPCR, a California-based company, for software and support for filing patient-care reports known as PCRs.
Ohio law requires emergency-medical technicians to file PCRs with the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
The report includes a patient's vital signs and an account of the incident requiring medical response, the transportation of the patient to the hospital and a summary of the patient's reception at the emergency room.
Under the current system, Norwich medics complete a PCR at a hospital and then must print the report there, as well as enter data upon returning to the station, Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Warren said.
The new system is iPad-based and represents a significant technological advance, Warren said.
Information can be instantly transmitted to the Department of Public Safety.
"When we take blood pressure, the result is recoded and automatically goes into the (interfacing) system," Warren said.
The new system is more costly than the current system, but savings will be accumulated in the long run through reduced time and effort to generate PCRs, as well as ensuring Norwich medics spend as little time as necessary outside the city, Warren said.
The annual cost is $20,000 in the first and second years of the contract, and then drops to $15,000 annually after startup costs are eliminated.
The township pays about $6,000 a year under its current PCR practice.
The new contract would be renewed in perpetuity, Warren said, and would not exceed $15,000 annually unless Norwich's calls-for-service volume exceeds 6,000 annually.
The annual fee of $15,000 is based on 6,000 or fewer calls for service in a year.
The department averages about 4,000 annual calls for service, Warren said.
In other action Jan. 9, Warren reported the subzero temperatures early last week caused minor damage at the Joint Safety Services Building on Northwest Parkway.
Low natural gas pressure Jan. 7, when the outside air temperature was about minus 5 degrees, led to the failure of at least one boiler.
The low temperature also caused a sprinkler head to freeze and explode, Warren said.
Because staff members in the building had expertise in sprinkler systems, the water was shut off, minimizing the damage to about $10,000, Warren said.
However, the Joint Safety Services Building was left without its sprinkler system and Norwich Township made other fire departments aware of the potential danger, Warren said.
"Gas pressure was increased a little later in the day (Jan. 7), but they never really gave us a good explanation about why it was so low," Warren said.