Operative IQ receives raved reviews during a JEMS Pannel Discussion

EMS Technology Solutions’ Operative IQ received great reviews during JEMS’ recent asset management panel “Changing the Game: Embrace new technology to manage assets,” on Tuesday, November 14, 2017.

JEMS’ panel discussion featured several of the industry’s top leaders to discuss the results of a 327-respondent survey administered by JEMS on the general topic of efficient asset management. Respondents were asked questions that included identifying: issues within inventory management, estimated waste of inventory per year, inventory level management, technology solutions to address inventory issues and supply accountability. Panelists Dr. James J. Augustine Medical Director for U.S. Acute Care Solutions, Chief Michael Baker Director of Emergency Medical Services for the Tulsa Fire Department and Sean Tyler President and COO of Fallon Ambulance deliberated and offered industry insight to the survey results.

When asked about the tacking of prescription medications, Chief Michael Baker Director of EMS for Tulsa Fire Department disclosed at the beginning of the panel discussion his operation’s employment of Operative IQ. Prior to the operations management software, Tulsa Fire used paper logs to track its controlled substances. According to Chief Baker, this process was inefficient and costly with regards to the man hours it took to continue to track the medications. Now, Chief Baker knows his narcotic medications are safe and accounted for because he can track where they are at all times through the Operative IQ Controlled Substance Tracking system.

“We don’t have any concerns about equipment that is in that system,” Chief Baker said. “It’s been a very beneficial process for us to be able to have that everyday accountability.”

Before Tulsa Fire began using Operative IQ, tracking expiration dates on controlled substances was a hassle. The operation’s tracking system consisted of a “phone tree,” calling various members within the agency to identify when medications were about to expire and needed to be replaced.

“Now we can pull it up in real time and look what’s out there and understand what we have to order and not,” Chief Baker said.

To hear more of Chief Michael Baker’s commentary, the full panel’s discussion and the survey results, please visit JEMS’ website. The video is available on-demand video, but viewers must complete a short, one time registration form before being re-directed to the discussion.

EMS Technology Solutions offers cutting edge, but affordable operations management software and products designed with First Responders in mind. The company’s Operative IQ Operations Management Software offers modules that include: Inventory Management, Asset Management, Purchasing Features, Integrated Purchasing, Fleet Management, Service Desk and RFID Tracking. EMS Technology Solutions has won four consecutive EMS World Top Innovation Awards for its operations management software.

For more information, please contact the Operative IQ team.

Click here to view the discussion.



EMS Technology Solutions Unveils a New Product

EMS Technology Solutions Unveils a New Product

Winning the EMS World Top Innovation Award, EMS Technology Solutions unveils its newest product, the Operative IQ RFID Drug Safe.

Increasing operation security for an affordable price, the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Drug Safe takes advantage of RFID technology to offer real-time monitoring of tagged equipment. Per industry standards, drug safes must be verified each time it is accessed to maintain operational integrity. EMS Technology Solution’s RFID Drug safe performs this operation in a matter of seconds. It tracks tagged loose drugs and drug boxes to produce accurate results and reduce labor.

The safe is integrated with Operative IQ’s Operations Management Software that is designed specifically with First Responders in mind. Each drug within the safe is tagged with a passive RFID tag, replacing the standard control number tags currently used within the industry. Drug boxes are tracked using BLE beacons. Both the beacons and the tags communicate with Operative IQ’s Operations Management Software to provide accurate and reportable data that can be ready for an audit within minutes.

EMS Technology Solutions’ RFID Drug safe is designed with a thin backwall RFID reader that continuously inventories the content of the safe and compares it to the Operative IQ Operations Management Software to identify and report any discrepancies. An LED Status Light is mounted to the top of the safe to indicate if the contents of the drug safe are accurate or inaccurate. If accurate, the light will remain green, but if inaccurate, the light will alternate between green and red providing a clear sign that there is an error.

Specifications for the RFID reader and the safe are as follows:

RFID Reader Kit- For Existing Safes

  • Radio Band 902-928 MHz (North America) UHF
  • Communication over Wi-Fi or Ethernet
  • Enabled for Passive RFID and BLE Beacons
  • GPIO Capable with External LED Status Light
  • Different kit sizes available


Physical Safe- Optional upon Purchase

  • Dimensions: 42” x 24.25” x 22”, 3 Shelves, 375 lbs.
  • Textured black powder coat finish with chrome hardware
  • Fully upholstered gray fabric interiors and adjustable shelving
  • S&G’s EMP resistant electronic low profile electronic lock is standard
  • 83,000 BTU Fire Rating

EMS Technology Solutions offers cutting edge yet affordable operations management software and products designed with first responders in mind. The company’s Operative IQ Operations Management Software offers modules that include: Inventory Management, Asset Management, Purchasing Features, Integrated Purchasing, Fleet Management, Service Desk and RFID Tracking. EMS Technology Solutions has won four consecutive EMS World Top Innovation Awards for its operations management software.

For more information, please contact the Operative IQ Team.

Healing the Budget of Medical Equipment Overhead

Source: INTALERE BEST PRACTICES COMPENDIUM: Supply Chain/Data Management or Supply Cost Efficiency

Healing the Budget of Medical Equipment Overhead


The difficulty in monitoring, track and replace expiring and obsolete medical supplies were costing Bell Ambulance thousands of dollars annually in overhead. Bell Ambulance was stockpiling supplies that had a limited shelf life to avoid the running out of crucial items. This led to a great deal of wasted capital and an increased the required amount of physical space to store the extra supplies.


Bell Ambulance implemented a multi-faceted approach to lower overhead costs and reduce waste caused by the expired supplies. SKUs were prioritized consistent with company objectives, using the appropriate number of product categories and leveraging the investment to maximize fill rates. Safety stock levels were updated dynamically, with levels for each category based on the financial goals of the business, which served to reduce safety stock inventory and out-of-stock situations, and increase revenue. A central supply office was developed to ensure all equipment is well maintained, inventory levels are verified and items with approaching expiration dates are placed on more frequently used ambulances.


Successful implementation of centralized ordering and the stocking processes have resulted in maximizing efficient and cost-effective purchasing and storage solutions. Medical supply purchasing decreased by 8.5% in the first fiscal year while call volume increased by 5.5%.


Bell Ambulance is the largest Emergency Medical Transport company in Wisconsin. The agency is headquartered in Milwaukee. It has a fleet of 60 emergency vehicles and a staff of 350 employees. Bell Ambulance responds to 70,000 medical calls annually. It is a progressive, client-oriented company devoted to providing high-quality emergency and non-emergency medical services. Bell Ambulance began using Operative IQ in 2009 to control their medical supplies and equipment.


EMS Technology Solutions, LLC
3771 Tramore Pointe Parkway, SW
Austell, GA 30106

Contact Us

USA: 877-217-3707
Canada: 647-694-0150

EMS World Innovation Award Winner Operative IQ

Medical Supply Inventory Management Systems for EMS

Author: Robert Avsec, Battalion Chief Robert Avsec (Ret.)

Medical Supply Inventory Management Systems for EMS

Today’s complex EMS environment requires administrators to constantly juggle issues like tightening budgets, drug shortages, strict governmental regulations and a highly engaged and connected staff — all while operating in a litigious society. Using yesterday’s approach to inventory management and supply and logistics is no longer an acceptable practice [1].

There are several significant aspects to automated inventory control and management for today’s EMS agencies, in both the public and private sectors. Having a reliable, effective and efficient inventory management system can help an organization reduce costs, limit waste, improve employee relations and limit liability. It can also positively impact patient care by having the right supplies and drugs available when needed [1].

For some time now, private-sector EMS agencies have used automated solutions to improve their fiscal bottom line by reducing costs and limiting waste. Increasingly, public-sector EMS agencies are seeing a similar need as their local funding from government or donations from stakeholders have declined or remained stagnant.

EMS agency leaders cannot continue to rely on emotional appeals to their stakeholders to justify their fiscal needs. The trend in local governments is for transparency and accountability to show taxpayers where and how their money is being spent [1].

EMS agencies across the board are also facing more demanding requirements for reimbursement from medical insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid for the supplies and drugs used when rendering patient care. The health care environment is rapidly changing with reduced reimbursements, new government regulations and an increased focus on compliance. This added complexity makes managing billing and coding in house much more challenging [2].

Inventory control and management software benefits
Current and developing technologies in ICM can enable EMS agencies to improve both their efficiency and effectiveness in a variety of ways including, but not limited to [3]:

Preventing medical inventory from expiring or being overstocked
Centralizing inventory control among departments and vehicles
Improving EMS medical staff productivity and performance
Ensuring that every ambulance is fully equipped with life-saving medications and devices
Logging the movement or usage of medical inventory

Inventory control to prevent narcotics diversion
Diversion is the theft of any pharmaceutical to be sold or traded for personal gain. Resale of narcotics is not limited to common street crime but also can involve Medicare fraud, theft from other providers, organized crime and a host of other crimes [4].

In its simplest form, detection of the loss of pharmaceuticals is a basic inventory control function. The three variables are replenishment of warehouse or central inventory, documented usage, and replenishment of in-station or in-ambulance inventory. Depletion of inventory is fairly predictable over time and can therefore be forecast as well [5].

Here is a common sense, simplistic example of monitoring inventory: You order what you use. There is no reason to order anything more than at the rate you use it and by using percentages of increase, the variances become highly recognizable. Use percentages because in drug inventories, units may not raise a flag [5].

For example, an increase of 10 units of morphine in this months requested inventory for Station #6 may not seem out of line compared to the stations ordering history, but if those 10 additional units of morphine represent a 15 percent increase over what’s previously been ordered each month that might be cause for a closer look.

Electronic tracking of supplies
Barcoding has become the basis for the majority of ICM systems on the market today. A barcode-based system streamlines the process by enabling an agency to track the life-cycle of any item: from the initial receipt of an item at the warehouse; the distribution of the item into the supply chain such as sending it to a specific EMS station; use of the item for patient care. Key inventory management and control functions that lend themselves to barcoding include [5]:

1. Managing Inventory of Standard Medical Consumables
Keep it simple by barcoding and tracking standard inventory items by location, number and quantity. Track a variety of standard stock inventory like bandages, gauze, and more.

2. Tracking Medication Inventory
Categorize medication using batch-lot numbers to efficiently and effectively keep track of expiration dates. Having an accurate picture for medication ins and outs, as well as on-hand quantity and reorder levels, can ensure that each EMS vehicle has the right medication inventory on board when an emergency strikes.

3. Serialized Inventory Tracking
Track chemicals and oxygen tanks individually using serial numbers to meet government mandated requirements, and to better prepare yourself when serialized inventory items are needed.

Electronic medication dispensing systems
Cart-mounted electronic medication dispensing systems, also known as med carts, have been a fixture in most medical facilities, such as hospitals and nursing homes, for many years and are now making their way into the EMS realm. Keeping medications under lock and key is an inventory security control measure for sure, but it’s not an effective strategy for managing and controlling how those medications are used.

Electronic medication dispensing systems provide benefits for both EMS providers and managers. Providers benefit from:

Secure, automated access to narcotics and supplies
Better adherence to controlled substance policies
Intuitive and easy-to-use software to accurately and completely document usage
Integration of usage into the patient care/billing report

The management/ownership benefits of an electronic medication dispensing systems include improved:

Compliance with state and DEA regulations for medication storage and dispensing
Inventory control and dispensing of narcotics
Control of EMS provider access rights
Inventory tracking and documentation of drugs used in patient care
Billing accuracy for medications used in patient care

Biometric security
One of the top components of inventory control and management is biometric security, which uses an individual’s biometric finger print to verify all transactions. This prevents someone from making false transactions or supervisors or managers having to make sense of illegible paper signatures. For added speed and security the biometric reader can also be used to login to inventory control software.

Beyond paper-based data collection and information management
In addition to inventory control and management, today’s electronic information management systems for EMS operations can include a host of other data collection and reporting features that improve an EMS agencies efficiency and effectiveness. One example is performing vehicle inspections with an electronic check sheet. If the inspection check sheet is integrated with inventory management and fleet maintenance software it can greatly enhance an agency’s operational intelligence. By replacing time-consuming paper check sheets crew members can be more accountable for supplies and equipment. All information captured during the inspection processes can be used to manage and report on an agency’s operations performance and needs [6,7].

Another example is the use of a web-based inventory check sheet to conduct inventory of on-hand supplies. Expiration dates on medical supplies are also captured to ensure that inventory is safe and ready for administration. On-hand inventory is balanced against par stocking levels to automatically generate supply requests. Optimally those supply requests are sent electronically to the supply room and processed based on an agency’s operational procedures.

Asset verification
The equipment used by EMS providers to provide patient care, particularly biomedical equipment such as defibrillators and medication pumps, represent a significant financial investment by the agency. Keeping track of that equipment as it moves through the operation is a critical risk management activity.

Electronic asset tracking enables end users to verify that equipment checked out to a station or vehicle is indeed at the location or report the missing equipment. If equipment is subsequently located, they can add it to their inspection and automatically transfer ownership to the new location or vehicle allowing missing assets and assets in motion to be recovered. If an asset requires maintenance the user can also record the maintenance while in the field using the check sheet.

Logging supplies by call
Using electronic reporting also enables the EMS provider to capture the supplies used on a per call basis. Crew members can enter the run number or ePCR number and enter the supplies used on the call. Once completed, the vehicle’s inventory is updated and a supply request is created. These electronic call records can later be used to report on supply usage and matched up with an agency’s ePCR records for quality assurance reviews.

General inspection questionnaires
Electronic reporting programs on the market today enable an agency to create customized questionnaires for any type of location or equipment inspection. These questionnaires are a basic element to any inspection process and provide supervisors and fleet managers with timely alerts on anything from narcotics usage to vehicle mileage and repair orders.

Fleet management integration
Fleet managers can receive information from electronic reporting check-sheets that will provide them with vehicle mileage, operating hours and any repair orders in real time. This makes planning scheduled maintenance and handling off-schedule repairs much easier.

Before you get started
Before purchasing any software vendor’s product, it is useful for an agency’s leadership to conduct a self-assessment to answer some key questions.

Why do we need to collect and analyze data?
What data should, or must, be collected?
Who will be responsible for entering the data?
How will the responsible parties enter the data?

These are important internal assessment questions. Far too often software purchasing decisions are made by those in leadership or technology positions within an organization without much thought about one of the most important components in any automated system: the end user who needs to integrate use of the software with their primary mission of patient care.

A majority of the data that most EMS agencies need to collect and analyze for their ICM originates at the level in the organization where the services get delivered. The earlier in the process that an agency’s managers gain input from these stakeholders, the greater the chance that whatever reporting software is eventually chosen will be the right one.

About the Author
Battalion Chief Robert Avsec (Ret.) served with the Chesterfield (Va.) Fire & EMS Department for 26 years beginning as a firefighter/EMT; he retired as an EMT-Cardiac Technician (ALS provider) certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia. During his career he was an active instructor, beginning as an EMT Instructor, who later became an instructor for fire, hazardous materials, and leadership courses at the local, state, and federal levels, which included more than 10 years as a Contract Instructor with the National Fire Academy. Chief Avsec earned his bachelor of science degree from the University of Cincinnati and his master of science degree in Executive Fire Service Leadership from Grand Canyon University. He is a 2001 graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. Since his retirement in 2007, he has continued to be a life-long learner working in both the private and public sectors to further develop his “management sciences mechanic” credentials. He makes his home near Charleston, W.Va. Contact Robert at Robert.Avsec@FireRescue1.com


1. 4 ways to better manage EMS inventory http://www.ems1.com/ems-products/ems-data-management/articles/1876952-4-ways-to-better-manage-EMS-inventory/

2. Avsec, R. 5 steps to buying fire department reporting software. FireRescue1.com http://www.firerescue1.com/fire-products/emergency-response-software/articles/2010807-5-steps-to-buying-fire-department-reporting-software/

3. McKesson. EMS Medical Billing & Revenue Cycle Management. http://www.mckesson.com/bps/solutions/services/ems-medical-billing-and-revenue-cycle-management/

4. ASAP Systems. Barcode Inventory System for Fire Rescue & EMS.

5. nMed. Prescription Drug Theft & Pharmacy Security.

6. ASAP Systems. Barcode Inventory System for Fire Rescue & EMS.

7. Operative IQ. Electronic Check-sheets.

EMS Technology Solutions, LLC
3771 Tramore Pointe Parkway, SW
Austell, GA 30106

Contact Us

USA: 877-217-3707
Canada: 647-694-0150

EMS World Innovation Award Winner Operative IQ