EMS Partners

EMS time-outs improve patient care, outcomes

When an ambulance rolls up to the emergency department at the UTMB Angleton Danbury Campus, nurses and physicians take time out to listen to medics. 

“It’s a formalized pause when these guys show up,” said Dr. Phillip Singer, trauma medical director and emergency medical director at the Angleton Danbury Campus. “We give them 30 seconds of clarity. There’s no commotion, and we are not distracted.”

The EMS time-out process allows medics to relay key information to the hospital staff. EMS crews use the acronym MIST to relay information in those precious 30 seconds:

  • M: Mechanism of injury or medical complaint

  • I: Injuries or inspections

  • S: Vital signs

  • T: Treatment and transfer of care signature

The 30-second briefing begins when the receiving nurse calls “EMS time out” as an ambulance arrives with a patient. The nurse documents the report, and the patient is moved to a gurney. Then, EMS paperwork is signed for the transfer of the patient.

The emergency department at Angleton Danbury is undergoing a major expansion and renovation. Currently, the department features 11 beds with four trauma bays. In addition, the hospital is a Level IV trauma center that
can provide advanced trauma life support (ATLS) prior to transferring patients to a higher-level trauma center if needed.

“We have the ability, training and equipment to stabilize a patient for transfer,” said Andrea Anderson, the Trauma Program manager at UTMB Angleton Danbury Campus.

Anderson oversees the hospital’s trauma protocols, which are the same at all UTMB Health System emergency rooms from Level III at the Clear Lake and League City campuses to the comprehensive Level I trauma care on the Galveston Campus.

Anderson keeps EMS partners updated on the latest trauma protocols, which are the same at each UTMB trauma center. She and other trauma program managers in the health system print these protocols on “badge buddies” for medics in the field.

“They know we are capable, and that we are able to take care of trauma patients,” Anderson said.

“We can receive all patients, regardless of their injuries,” Singer said.

Working together with first responders will improve patient experiences and outcomes.

“We’re improving processes that directly affect patient care by streamlining order sets,” Singer said.

Collaborating with EMS partners improves communication and strengthens relationships. Singer plans to increase trauma-related educational opportunities for EMS crews.

“We provide point-of-care training and a trauma review process,” Singer said. He and his staff provide feedback on specific cases and let medics know the patient’s outcome.

This open line of communication has helped the Angleton Danbury hospital build a strong relationship with Chief Lucille Maes of the Angleton Area Emergency Medical Corps.

“Chief Maes is a longstanding figure in the community,” Singer said. AAEMC brings in a lot of patients to UTMB and transfers many patients for UTMB. “We depend on them heavily.”

Knowing their assessment from the field can help the hospital treat the patient, Singer invites EMS crews to ask questions as soon as they pop up.

“Call in from the field and get the guidance,” he said.