IVENA eHealth in the ambulance service sector
A guest article by Roland Dollmeier, Managing Director of the Munich Emergency Services Association (Rettungszweckverband München – RVZ)
The interdisciplinary medical supply compass (in German: Interdisziplinäre Versorgungsnachweis IVENA) was introduced in spring 2013 by the Munich Emergency Services Association (Rettungszweckverband RZV) to facilitate the management of assigning patients to appropriate hospitals for the emergency service in Munich. All necessary steps were implemented with decisive support of the Medical Directors of Emergency Services. The decision to obtain the IVENA system was motivated by time delays in the transfer of emergency patients to receptive hospitals in the rescue service area of Munich.
In a large number of cases, rescue vehicles with comprehensively medically supported and therefore fit for transport emergency patients on board, were forced to wait for a long period of time until the assignment to a receptive hospital by the “Integrated Control Centre” (Integrierte Leitstelle ILS) Munich. The reason for this was that previously, the ILS employees had to enquire by telephone at the clinics suitable for further treatment to check if there were enough capacities available to admit these patients. This resulted in unacceptable delays in the rescue chain.
IVENA is a web-based software programme which allows hospitals to display their current healthcare capacities to the dispatchers at the ILS without any delay. This information is particularly interesting with regard to severely injured or critically ill patients of all age groups. The system can be individually tailored to the respective medical support structures of the connected hospitals.
At a single glance on the IVENA screen, the ILS dispatchers can tell which hospital closest to the emergency location has capacities available, e.g. a neonatal intensive care unit for preterm or newborn children or a chest pain unit for heart attack patients.
An important aspect in the introduction of the system was the compliance of the clinics in the jurisdiction of the RVZ.
Within a short period of time, the clinics’ representatives were convinced of the reasonableness of this innovation, so that hereinafter the objective was to assure a most comprehensive mapping of existing hospital facilities. Hereby it was important to create a balance between depicting a differentiated description of the individual medical centres, and a user interface that is straightforward and easy to operate.
After using the system for almost five years, it has proven successful. Hospital assignments can now be performed within a fraction of the time once needed. By now, up to 400 transfers in 24 hours can be processed through the assignment system. Besides the Bavarian cities of Munich, Nuremberg and Aschaffenburg, IVENA eHealth is also operating in Berlin, in parts of the federal state Hessen and in the federal state Brandenburg.
All of the operators are in constant dialog with the developers of the software (mainis IT Service) and substantially contribute to the further development of the programme features.