Patient tracking

17 Dec 2021

Farcas AM, Zaidi HQ, Wleklinski NP, Tataris KL. Implementing a Patient Tracking System in a Large EMS System. Prehospital Emergency Care. 2021 Feb 4:1-9.


Accurate tracking of patients poses a significant challenge to prehospital and hospital emergency medical providers in planned and unplanned events. Previous reports on patient tracking systems are limited primarily to descriptive reports of post incident reviews or simulated exercises. Our objective is to report our experience with implementing a patient barcode tracking system during various planned events within a large urban EMS system.

In 2018, representatives from the Chicago Department of Public Health, Chicago Fire Department EMS, private EMS agencies, and 27 hospitals in the Chicago EMS System were trained on the use of a web-based patient tracking system using barcoded triage tags and wristbands to monitor triage category and hospital destination during an event. The tracking system was used on two planned operational days and three pre-planned mass gathering events. The primary outcome was the percent of patients initially scanned by EMS that were scanned by the hospital. Descriptive statistics were collected. Barriers to patient tracking system use were identified.

Each event was reviewed for the number of patients assigned a barcode identifier and scanned by EMS that were then scanned by the hospital. In the first planned operational day, 57% (359/622) of patients initially scanned by EMS were scanned by the hospital. In the second planned operational day, 88% (355/402) of EMS scanned patients were scanned by the hospital and 37% (133/355) were assigned a final disposition. At three city mass gathering events, there were 79% (50/63), 95% (190/199), and 82% (46/56) of EMS scanned patients also scanned by hospitals. Logistical and technological challenges were documented.

Use of a web-based system with barcode identifiers successfully tracked patients from prehospital to hospital during planned operational days and mass gathering events. Percent of scanned patients increased after the first operational day and remained consistent in subsequent events. Limitations to the patient tracking system included logistical and technological barriers. Similar patient tracking systems may be implemented to assist with event management in other EMS systems.

Key words: EMS; patient tracking system; mass gathering event; prehospital; barcode

Photo by Jonnica Hill on Unsplash

James T, Izon-Cooper L, Collins S, Cole H, Marczylo T. The wash-in effect and its significance for mass casualty decontamination. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B. 2022 Apr 3;25(3):113-34.


Decontamination of skin by washing may increase dermal absorption, a phenomenon known as the wash-in effect. The wash-in effect is frequently discussed in studies investigating casualty decontamination where potentially life-saving interventions may enhance the dermal penetration of toxic chemicals, leading to an increase in incidence of morbidity and rates of mortality. However, the wash-in effect is seldom investigated within the context of mass casualty decontamination and real-life consequences are therefore poorly understood. This paper reviews the existing literature on the wash-in effect to highlight the proposed mechanisms for enhanced absorption and evaluate the wash-in effect within the context of mass casualty chemical decontamination.