Texas fire department using video calls to reduce unnecessary ambulance runs

  • Source: WOAI-TV NBC 4 San Antonio
  • Published: 04/27/2021 12:00 AM

VIDEO: An ambulance ride, when you don't really need one, can be expensive for you. It also ties up crews that could be responding to life threatening emergencies. As part of our Show Me Your Bill project, Trouble Shooter Jaie Avila demonstrates how the San Antonio Fire Department is trying to reduce unnecessary ambulance runs. At the fire department call center, one sometimes two dispatchers are using new video call technology to see the patient and determine if they really need an ambulance. If your 911 call does not appear life threatening, you're quickly transferred to one of the special, clinical dispatchers, like paramedic Art Salazar. He sends the caller a link they can click on with their smart phone. Salazar sent the link to Jaie Avila so we could demonstrate how it allows him to see the patient right through their phone's camera. Through the video call the dispatcher can see how the person’s skin looks and whether they’re in distress.


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