Netcare 911 takes emergency medicine to a new level

Critical care outcomes enhanced through countrywide sharing of best practice

Friday, February 28 2014

Patients from all over South Africa who need emergency medical assistance can expect even better care from Netcare 911 paramedics now that the group has started harnessing technology for knowledge sharing and learning purposes.

Netcare 911’s monthly mortality and morbidity meetings, which have been held in Johannesburg for nearly a decade, are now being streamed live to Netcare 911 sites in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern, Western and Northern Cape and the Free State, so that advanced life support paramedics around the country may benefit from the analysis of best practice in the critical care field.

“We consult three independent medical experts – an emergency medicine intensivist (a physician who specialises in the care and treatment of patients in intensive care), a paediatric intensivist and a trauma surgeon – to give their professional opinion on Netcare 911’s handling of all emergency medicine and critical care cases. Approximately three of these cases are discussed in detail at our monthly meetings and the care given to each patient is evaluated to set criteria. It is encouraging that the overwhelming majority of cases are given the best possible rating that can be assigned to emergency and critical care cases,” says Jurgen Kotze, Principal of Netcare Education’s Faculty of Emergency and Critical Care (FECC).

The critical care cases, which include Netcare 911 emergency transfers are meticulously reviewed and evaluated by the external consultants and key learning points from the cases are discussed. Approximately 40 advanced life support paramedics and trauma programme managers, along with other emergency medicine professionals, attended this month’s meeting in Johannesburg while 38 of their Netcare 911 colleagues from around South Africa joined the session via a live video and audio link.

One of the cases analysed in February’s meeting was the air ambulance transfer of a critically ill infant with cardiac complications from one province to another. The baby was in desperate need of specialised care, which was only available in Gauteng. “This case was a prime example of how to optimise care when transporting critically ill patients. In the past, the best practice aspects of such a patient’s care would only have been shared with Netcare 911’s paramedics in Johannesburg but now, thanks to this live video and audio link, we were able to directly communicate the learnings from this case to our paramedics in five other provinces. This means clinical outcomes and patient management can be enhanced countrywide. We take great care to protect patient privacy in the process and details which could compromise this are not shared,” says David Stanton, Gauteng Campus Manager for Netcare Education’s FECC.

“In the near future, we hope to link up and get input from Netcare 911 paramedics from as far out as Mozambique during our monthly mortality and morbidity meetings. By harnessing the expertise and feedback from frontline doctors, paramedics and trauma surgeons Netcare 911 is able to remain at the forefront of best practice and continue to enhance the quality of emergency medical services, aligned with its reputation as a recognised leader in the field,” concludes Kotze.


Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare 911
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Sarah Beswick or Jillian Penaluna
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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