Patient safety is our top priority. So we're always looking for ways to improve on that front. That's why three years ago we implemented our Silence is Golden program, a.k.a. Tone it Down. The program allows us to identify, improve upon, and strive to eliminate any unsafe driving whatsoever.
Each of our ambulances, wheelchair vans, and medical cars are equipped with StreetEagle, a system that recognizes whenever any harsh driving is taking place. Excessive use of the brake or gas pedal, hard cornering, or any other anomaly will cause loud tones to sound to the driver. The tones immediately bring the driver's attention to the unsafe driving maneuver and also trigger the on-board surveillance system to begin recording the event for later review.
A 2005 study that looked at this exact type of system found it to be "a highly effective and sustainable approach to enhancing safety in ambulance transport," and noted that when the system was put into place the EMS agency saw a 3,375 fold reduction in seat belt violations and similar trends in speed and over force parameters.
You can read more about the features of the StreetEagle system on their website here.
Analyzing the data
Our Field Supervisor and Safety Officer analyze each driver's tone event average score on a weekly basis, and take appropriate action if necessary. The tone score is based on average events per hour and and acceptable score is 95% or above. This helps make sure our drivers and EMTs are always held accountable for their driving. Below is a look at some of the info our reports contain (with names redacted).
Results and Goals
Since implementation of this program, we've seen insurance reportable incidents decline sharply. While this is encouraging, we are always striving to be better, so we know there is always more room for improvement.
The purpose here is twofold. We want our patients and staff to always be safe, but we also want to always be improving on our general driving record as a company. As we continue to lower (and hopefully eliminate) reportable events, we can also save on insurance premiums, re-invest in the company and continue to provide the best possible service that we can. This program also saves considerable amounts on fleet costs through reduced wear on the vehicles. Everything from fuel use to wear and tear on tires and other parts is positively affected.
On Time President John Bush thinks the program has been a huge success, saying, "Not only does this program pay for itself and drastically improve patient safety, we find that the drivers really enjoy reviewing their report cards with their Team Leaders and seeing their improvements."
We were extremely proud to take home the 2016 OEMS Outstanding EMS Safety Award. As we're always aiming to be pioneers in our field, it is an honor to be recognized as leading the way in safety in medical transportation here in New Jersey and across the country. We think that teaching the fundamentals the right way, including this and the rest of our ten safety mantras, is the best way to instill a culture of safety from the top down.
Thanks for reading!