Tulsa Fire’s Michael Baker on Operative IQ’s Controlled Substance Tracking
Michael Baker has been on the forefront of ensuring the highest quality pre-hospital emergency medical care to the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. As the Director of Emergency Medical Services for over five years, Baker has continued to focus on EMS education, quality improvement, and logistics of the EMS branch of the Tulsa Fire department.
In October 2014, Baker and Tulsa Fire decided to give Operative IQ’s Controlled Substance Tracking a try and only a few short months later they’re reaping the benefits.
THERE MUST BE A BETTER WAY
Not unlike many other agencies, Baker and the Tulsa Fire department were using paper logs to manage their controlled substances which cost them time and money. “Being in a distributed environment where our stations are located all across a big metropolitan area,” Baker said. “We would constantly find ourselves trading out sheets.”
Another challenge of being spread out over 201 square miles is the inherent accountability problem. “It’s not like I issue controlled substances on a daily basis; I just have an exchange between the two paramedics onsite,” Baker said. “What we found was that there was a lot of places that it was prone to error.”
THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB
Finding the right fit for his operation was critical to Baker. When searching for a solution to these issues, he came across Operative IQ. “We were excited about it, primarily because what we saw as potential savings of time, money, effort and the ability to reallocate people who are already busy.”
The key to the time and money savings came largely from the use of the biometric finger print scanner which transformed their paper logs into a much more logistically friendly security measure. Michael explained how the excitement for the system stretched to his medical directors. “They were early adopters of the process and very highly complementary of us taking on that as a security measure. It allows them to sleep better at night.”
EASE OF IMPLEMENTATION
Just as Controlled Substance Tracking allows the user to have full “cradle-to-grave” tracking of their controlled substances, Operative IQ offers the same full coverage customer service during training and implementation.
Baker described how the training was comprehensive and accessible. “I never had something not answered or a process not addressed.” And like many changes, losing sight of the end goal can become problematic, but as Baker clarified, “I never felt a lack of support, and that’s what helps keep that momentum.”
WHERE ARE THEY NOW
The logistical benefits of Controlled Substance Tracking and the critical security benefits, were immediately noticeable. Tulsa Fire’s logistical problems were successfully addressed by the biometric finger print system. “I got two days of staff member time back because we don’t have to drive around and change out a piece of paper,” Baker said. “It’s all within our system; it’s electronic.”
As far as his desire for increased accountability, “I’ve got much, much better accountability across the board, I know where my controlled substances are all the time. So that’s huge.”
ADVICE TO OTHER AGENCIES STILL USING PAPER
For those who think Controlled Substance Tracking isn’t right for their operation, Michael Baker contends, “Is the security of your controlled substances worth the risk? I don’t think that this day and age we can risk diversion, I don’t think we can risk lack of security.”
We think Baker is right, diversion is as much of a risk as it has ever been and now there is a proactive solution. We are very excited to see Controlled Substance Tracking alleviating the problems and apprehensions associated with controlled substances in the pre-hospital environment.