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Mercy Hospital rolls out new EMS communications system using smartphone technology


Smartphones have revolutionized our lives in many ways. Now this same technology that allows us to access almost anything with a few clicks is being used to improve heart and stroke care in Western New York. Mercy Hospital of Buffalo is the first hospital in the region to use smartphone, cloud-based technology to enhance communication between EMS providers in the field with emergency department physicians and other medical specialists at the hospital. The secure system, called Pulsara, works on smartphone or tablet devices, offering two-way, real-time triage and assessment consultations between EMS providers and emergency physicians while patients are on route to the hospital.

“This app-based communication tool will allow us to improve communication with the EMS community as they respond to critically ill patients in the field,” said Edward Cosgrove, MD, medical director of the Mercy Hospital Emergency Department. “In emergencies where every second counts, we will be able to use this new technology to enhance patient care and improve patient outcomes.”

The intuitive app allows first responders to transmit vital patient data, and have live video consults right from the ambulance, saving critical time when patients arrive at the hospital. For time-sensitive stroke or heart emergencies, this new communication platform is designed to streamline communication and enhance treatment time outcomes and patient care coordination.

“Time is of the essence, so the faster our first responders can communicate with physician specialists, the faster we can get our heart patients to the cardiac cath lab and our stroke patients to the endovascular lab,” said Emily James, MBA, EMT-P, Catholic Health Manager of Emergency and Neuroscience Services. “We are proud to be the first hospital in the area to implement this potentially lifesaving communication platform at no cost to our EMS providers.” Mercy Hospital’s Pulsara “Go Live” was held on Sept. 26. The technology will be rolled out in the coming weeks at Catholic Health’s other hospitals – Kenmore Mercy, Sisters of Charity and Mount St. Mary’s – and with EMS providers throughout the Buffalo/Niagara region.