10 Critical Features Your ePCR Software Must Possess

Today, American ambulance crews overwhelmingly rely on ePCR (electronic patient care report) software rather than a clipboard to fill out patient reports. The switch to digital solutions has vastly improved the capabilities of emergency medical services (EMS) providers, allowing them to spend less time on paperwork and more time facilitating emergency care.

That being said, there’s no doubt that some ePCR solutions are better than others. EMS organizations have to make sure their software has essential features that assist ambulance crews and back-office staff in doing their jobs—and in the most optimal ways possible.

Here are 10 critical features that all ePCR software should have:

1.) Automatic Syncing

ePCR software should eliminate the need for manual data pushing or processing, thus saving time and improving data accuracy. When possible, software should permit automatic data synchronization to reduce the incidences of human error that come from manually re-entering data into different forms.

When automatic syncing is enabled, reports typically only need to be filled out once, as the data in each info field will immediately be made available to authorized parties without the need for any further action. This feature alone can result in massive time savings for ambulance and non-emergency transport crews, allowing them to serve more patients on a given day.


2.) Simple Personalization and Customization

While all EMS providers have broadly similar services, each organization will have a specific way of doing things based on local conditions and preferences. Having software that could accommodate these special needs enable a smoother workflow within the organization. 

Built-in personalization and customization save providers the expense of having the software’s code customized at the back-end to accommodate their needs. The level of personalization varies by vendor, making configurable ePCR software a better choice compared to a potentially problematic custom-coded solution.

3.) Offline Report Completion

ePCR software should permit ambulance crews to complete forms offline. Crews may occasionally need to venture into locations without a stable internet connection and the software must allow them to complete patient reports in these circumstances. To save time, the software should also be able to sync the report with the rest of the system when an internet connection becomes available.


4.) Integrates with Billing Software

ePCR software should automatically integrate with the billing software used by the back office, allowing for timely and accurate bills. Having accurate and timely billing will help facilitate interactions with hospitals and payers, giving the organization a steadier revenue stream.


5.) Helps Crews Complete Reports Accurately and Thoroughly

For all its other functions, the primary purpose of ePCR software is to facilitate the creation of patient reports. As such, it should alert users to any fields that were not filled and restrict them from handing in or processing incomplete reports. An autocomplete function for repeat patients should also be included to help crews and back-office staff save time.


6.) Cloud-Based Hosting 

Cloud-based hosting helps bring down the cost of implementing an ePCR system while also making the platform more resistant to catastrophic data loss. Cloud hosting also makes it possible to automatically back up data without disrupting operations. Even with a malware attack or damage to local servers, an EMS provider with a cloud-based ePCR could continue with their operations as normal.


7.) NEMSIS and HIPAA-Compliant

To avoid regulatory sanctions, ePCR software should comply with standards and rules set by the National Emergency Medical Services Information System (NEMSIS) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). This will help the EMS provider avoid costly fines and help maintain the integrity of sensitive patient information.

8.) Intuitive Layout and User Interface

Both ambulance crews and back-office staff are often under significant time pressure when they provide emergency services. Software with a human-centric user interface and layout can help take off some of that strain, allowing them to concentrate on the tasks at hand rather than the ins and outs of the software. This also results in less frustration with the ePCR platform and ensures higher system utilization.


9.) Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) Integration

Integration with the EMS provider’s CAD ensures that ambulance crews and dispatchers work closer, reducing miscommunication and accurately transferring information even when under stress. This not only ensures better patient outcomes but also prevents mistakes that impact the provider’s service levels.


10.) Facilitates Data Transfers Between EMS Providers, Payers, Hospitals, and Regulatory Bodies

ePCR platforms need to be able to facilitate a wide range of data transfer automation tasks. In particular, it should be able to automatically send relevant data to all parties involved in a patient’s care without the need for further human input. Being able to seamlessly transfer data to payers, hospitals, and regulators helps eliminate the risks of manual data inputs while ensuring a better standard of care throughout the whole healthcare continuum.


EMS providers that have not had platform updates in the past few years should take some time to audit their current ePCR. ePCR platforms that lack the features outlined above should be replaced with a more capable solution. These should empower EMS organizations to not only serve more patients but also gain the revenue needed to further increase their capabilities.

Dan Smiljanić

Dan is a practitioner of project management and our resident geek. With a background in computer science, Dan is the lead product tester at Binfire. When Dan not writing code, you will probably find him cycling and hiking with friends.

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