Many times the influx or surge of patients pushes our system (emergency departments and EMS) beyond immediate capacity. The benefit of working as a system is we can leverage or compensate each other as needed. However, in those times we need to be as efficient as possible. As such, the EHSF developed a tool to assist with the communication of situation awareness as to the current capacity of emergency departments. The tool is a mobile platform allowing EMS providers, emergency department staff, and 9-1-1 communication centers to see the current capacity within a specific geographic area.
Diversion is a term used over the years for times when emergency departments become overcrowded or experience a mechanical failure impacting the efficiency of processing patients. The term is used to inform EMS of the need to consider transport to another emergency department by educating their patient as to what they will experience should they desire transport to the impacted emergency department.
The emergency departments collectively agree when EMS has a critical patient in need of immediate transport, stabilization, or life-saving interventions, the patient should be transported to the closest and most appropriate emergency department regardless of diversion status.