NASHVILLE, TN – When COVID-19 hit, businesses had to find new ways to operate. With most of our employees working on the front lines of healthcare, the need to protect staff and patients was clear.

Our company, First Call Ambulance, is a medical transportation company, providing both emergency and non-emergency ambulance transportation. We are a certified, veteran-owned small business with 350 employees and more than 60 ambulances serving middle and east Tennessee. We respond to more than 50,000 calls a year for emergency and non-emergency ambulance transportation.

We tell our people, “When you get into an ambulance, imagine it’s your grandmother in the back and you’re giving her the best care.” That’s what they do.

Using multiple technological solutions, we were ready for COVID-19.

Working with AT&T and  FirstNet®, public safety’s nationwide communications platform, we streamlined our operations long before the virus hit.  As first responders, we get priority access on the FirstNet network to help keep us connected.

For many years, we were using a combination of rugged laptops and flip phones to capture patient care reports. We also transitioned from a traditional phone system to an IP phone system more than a year ago. We’ve now upgraded our communications by giving our team Wi-Fi-enabled, dashboard-mounted tablets.

Our crew members can submit patient reports electronically in near real-time through a mobile device management solution. AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk allows dispatchers to communicate with all our EMTs and paramedics.

To track and monitor the health of our vehicles, we use AT&T Fleet Complete. It helps us maintain the reliability of our ambulances so that we can avoid any costly equipment downtime.

Once the virus hit, we quickly implemented a stay-at-home, work-from-home policy for office staff and our dispatch employees.  We’re able to do the job that we need to do to move patients from point A to point B. The stress level has reduced significantly for our employees, knowing that they are staying productive and serving our clients during social isolation.  

We have implemented stringent measures to protect our people and the staffs and patients we work with at nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living facilities. Many of them are implementing similar procedures and we can communicate with them better.

Times like these bring out good things in people. When we’ve participated in mass transfers of patients, I’ve seen our crews praying before and after the event. It just warms my heart to know how committed our employees are to helping patients and their families get through this as safely as possible.

Whether it was the tornado that hit Middle Tennessee in early March or COVID-19, we have had to adjust. Technology is playing an indispensable role. We feel confident that we'll be able to communicate seamlessly through any situation in this COVID-19 pandemic.

And that we’ll be one step ahead of whatever comes next.

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