Monthly Archives: September 2012

Quick thoughts from TriCON 2012

The theme for the TriCON 2012 conference in San Diego was “Breaking Barriers” and that is certainly what TriTech presented during the plenary yesterday regarding their next generation dispatch system and their consolidation of recent business acquisitions. The crowd was clearly the biggest ever for this conference at about 430 users. A show of hands made it clear that the majority of these attendees were VisionAIR clients with VisiCAD users a clear runner up in representation. However the future direction for TriTech was definitely a merger of several systems, both internal and external to the business, as explained during the opening session called “TriTech Update: One Company.” It was explained that the products would be simplified into a family under the names of “Inform”, “Perform”, and “Respond.” While the names were beginning to be used this week, it was admitted that it will take some time for the actual rebranding to be complete. Attendees at this conference would almost exclusively fall under the “Inform” name reserved for the larger volume clients using applications now called VisiCAD or VisionAIR. Smaller dispatch clients would be in the “Perform” category and “Respond” will include EMS and billing systems.

This type of re-categorization even extended into a restructuring of the organization around functional “centers of excellence” that would be geographically recognized. San Diego, for instance, will become the center including GIS integration and Castle Hayne will host law enforcement functions. Darrin Reilly, the new COO, explained the need to reorganize the company allowing them to take advantage of future trends given that fact that IT evolution will be greater in the next 12-60 months than ever before.

The apparent effect of this reorganization was already evident in the product demonstrations that began with a significant ‘rethinking’ of the integration of CAD and E9-1-1. An illustration that showed how CAD could work differently – and even be implemented incrementally – contained significant integration with Google technology. Integrating search powered by Google into the call-taking screen significantly enhances search as well as map display tools and ultimately dispatcher knowledge.

Integrating the phone system with the CAD enables new features such as automatic call-back dialing by clicking on the phone number displayed on the dispatcher’s screen. Mapping of the incoming calls provides a visual “spatial awareness” that can provide advanced prioritization as a step toward Next Generation 911. In the case where several incoming calls are clustered around a documented incident while others appear at a great distance, it can be assumed that certain calls may be redundant reports while others could be regarding new incidents. The demonstration also showed the possibility of integrating live report calls directly into the TriTech Mobile application for immediate access by first responders.

There was more talk about the benefits of spatial technology integration yesterday with users asking for updates to the TriTech applications in order to support current ArcGIS 10 technology from Esri, but more focus seemed to be on Google-based mapping from the TriTech presenters rather further leveraging GIS technology beyond simple geographic display.

Then this morning Brian Fontes from NENA discussed the future of NG911 answering the questions “What is it and where are we going?” Following that presentation were several other break-out sessions, many of which focused on law enforcement applications which appeared to me to be somewhat disproportionally represented given the audience.

Now off to TriFest in Old Town San Diego tonight!

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Filed under Conferences, Dispatch & Communications, Emergency Communications, Technology & Communications

Late for the Future

My friend Mike Ward, who I met as “FossilMedic“, asked a question in a blog post back on September 10 wondering aloud “What will the fire service look like by September 11, 2021?? Well, a few of my fellow EMS bloggers took the challenge of answering that question. In his blog post on the subjectGreg Friese presented a mixed bag of specific predictions as he also extended the question to include EMS as well as Fire in the query. The gadget geek known as “UnwiredMedic“, or just Christopher Matthews to some, also quickly took up the challenge focusing on the advances in technology as he usually does in his post on “the closure of another anniversary“. Finally, Bob Sullivan focused on his trademark patient perspective in discussing provider skills and training that will be common in his view of “EMS on 9/11/2021“. I am quite late to the fray, but hope to join these friends in making my own prognostications from my own unique vantage point on improving the efficiency of EMS.

The way I see it, in another ten years we will be past most of the in-fighting we currently experience between firefighters and paramedics about who does what more effectively or efficiently. I hope that by the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks we will finally recognize that the public is both the focus and financier of our efforts outstripping our desires for shiny equipment or promoting blind union allegiance. We face the pressures today of a changing environment where a lack of volunteers is necessarily being replaced by paid staff increasing provider costs and an aging and increasingly unhealthy population is placing more demands on emergency resources. All while, the very foundation of the heath care system is continually being overhauled with changes to well-established financial reimbursement incentives. The fundamental change we will witness regarding the structure of provider agencies in coming years will not be a linear progression from today, but the enhanced variation of a “punctuated equilibrium? driven predominately by rising costs and demand that are clearly out of line with our commitment of resources.

The first ten years since 9/11/2001 saw unprecedented spending in public safety at every level raising debts nationally and locally. Now we face an economy that cannot sustain current spending patterns and will demand increased efficiency along with the increasing efficacy of evidence-based treatments. To get more from less, we must do better. I believe we will see the advances in technology and education that others have predicted because it will prove to improve service, but we will also see consolidation of agencies along with increased specialization. Medically focused professionals will handle the majority of medical calls. Savings will be realized by integrating these medical responses with advanced medical providers given incentives to improve long-term health outcomes.

A future we need and can live with. What do you see?

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Filed under Administration & Leadership, EMS Topics, Funding & Staffing, News