What is a PCR picture worth?
By Nancy Smith, Compliance Officer
A picture isn’t just worth a thousand words, it is also worth the cost of an ambulance transport. As ProTransport-1 embraces the ePCR and expands its use to all regions of our service area, we need to be vigilant in recognizing issues early on to limit their negative impact. One such issue brought to my attention is the picture quality of ePCR attachments. These attachments include patients’ face sheets, Transport Order Forms and DNRs. By combining the new technology, our intention was to ease the off-duty process for everyone.
During a recent audit, our PCRs were 85-percent clear, so we have done a pretty good job using our tablets and smartphones. However, there were still 30 useless ePCRs out of the 200 we audited. The word “useless” may sound harsh, but it appropriately describes the pictures in question. These ePCR pictures were blurry, not centered, too dark, or vital information is blocked by the photographer’s finger. When vital information that should be in a picture, such as the RN’s signature, is cut-off or darkened by a shadow, we cannot process the PCR as needed. The same can be said in the case of an incomplete picture of the patient’s face sheet or signed Transport Order Form.
My intention of notifying all staff of this problem is to eradicate the poor image capturing by way of education. I have found in the aforementioned audit that the clearest and most valuable attached photos have the following in common:
- The photographer used a clipboard to capture each attachment. A clipboard provides a flat surface on which to frame the paperwork within the edges of the clipboard, ensuring the entire page is visible when the image is captured.
- Pictures were taken in a well-lit area allowing the entire page to be visible.
An additional review of the picture prior to attaching it is also a good rule of thumb. If the picture is unclear to you, it will be unclear to all. If the first picture isn’t clear, try and try again until it is of the quality you would expect of something sent to you.
Through combined effort and the due diligence used to complete PCRs, we can increase the number of PCRs that pass through the audit process clean and clear. Let’s transform that 15-percent into a much smaller number.
Thanks and keep up the good work!