Today’s 911 system not designed for telemedicine

Everyday the nation’s 911 system responds to calls for Police, Fire and EMS emergencies.  However this system was not designed with Telemedicine in mind.

Some of the issues that are faced when you are on a Telehealth call and your patient is having an emergency that requires 911 response.

  • Only the PSAP/ Call Center In which the patient is located in can dispatch first responders
  • When a doctor calls 911, they reach their local dispatch not the dispatch where their patient is located.
  • When a doctor calls 911 the dispatcher will see the doctors information in their system, not the patient information.
  • 911 Infrastructure is siloed by State, and dispatchers cannot communicate across state lines
  • 911 infrastructure is not always able to route Text to 911 and voice calls to the same dispatcher
  • Priority One 911 calls are answered before Priority Two 10 digit administration calls- As a result if you are out of the 911 zone and call their administrative number chances are you will have to wait before you speak to a dispatcher
  • If you Maintain a list of PSAP/ Call Center numbers it is very hard to maintain. 1-2% of PSAP zones change close or open every three months.

Public Safety Access Points in the USA by County

Source: fcc.gov as of 2020-10-15

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