Self-Dispatch PCR Mode / AngelTrack Without a Dispatch Office

How to configure AngelTrack for providers that don't have a dispatch office, where crews self-dispatch.

If you do not have a dispatch office, but instead your crews receive call assignments directly from your city, your county, or a third-party call center, then AngelTrack's Self-Dispatch PCR mode is for you!


Activating the Self-Dispatch PCR Mode Feature

To active Self-Dispatch PCR mode for all crew members:

  1. Visit the Settings page with Administrator access.
  2. Find the "Unattended mode" setting, and switch it to "Self-Dispatch".
  3. Select the ☑ Active now tickybox.

Afterward, anyone with dispatcher access can deactivate and reactivate Self-Dispatch mode from the dispatch board.

If you want to grant Self-Dispatch PCR-mode access features to just one specific crew member, rather than to all of them, then don't activate Self-Dispatch PCR mode, instead just add the crew member to the call-taker security role. Any employee who is both a ☑ Crew member and a ☑ Call-taker will always have all the privileges conferred by Self-Dispatch PCR mode, even when Self-Dispatch PCR mode is disabled.

You Still Need a QA Department

When your crews finish their reports, they will still submit them to QA, and everything is still subject to your state data validation rules (either NEMSIS or NFIRS). Therefore you must have at least one QA reviewer (it can be one of your supervisors) who will manage the QA Review Queue, checking each report and passing it on or failing it back to the crew.

As for billing: If you don't ever do billable work, then visit the Service Levels Configuration item under Settings, and mark all your offered services as "assumed non-billable". You will still be able to book a billable call when needed, but otherwise, all new calls will default to non-billable. That means they advance to "Finished" after they pass QA review, completely skipping the billing process.

Extra Access Granted to Crew Members in Self-Dispatch PCR Mode

Self-Dispatch PCR mode includes all the privileges conferred upon crews by unattended mode, plus all of the following:

  • Dispatch Board: AngelTrack has a simplified dispatch board for use by crew members in Self-Dispatch PCR mode; see below for details.
  • Dispatches:
    • Book a new dispatch and assign it to oneself, but not a round trip or a recurring trip.
    • Cancel any active dispatch that the crew member personally booked, or to which the crew member is currently assigned, as well as any paired (round trip) dispatch even if booked by someone else and even if assigned to someone else.
    • View and modify any active dispatch that is not assigned to any crew.
    • View any active dispatch where the crew member is onboard any of the responding vehicles, or for which the attached patient/customer is someone that the crew member has seen recently*.
    • Join any active unassigned dispatch as the primary responder, or join any active assigned dispatch as a secondary responder (see below).
    • Duplicate any active or closed dispatch.
    • Divert any active dispatch where the crew member is onboard any of the responding vehicles.
    • View and filter the list of all closed dispatches where the crew member was onboard any of the responding vehicles.
    • View any active or closed dispatch where the crew member was onboard any of the responding vehicles.
    • Modify any active or closed dispatch and any paired trip where the crew member was onboard any of the responding vehicles, until such time as the dispatch passes QA and goes to billing.
  • Facilities:
    • View the facility list.
    • View and modify any facility record, including any fire preplan, but not any billing data.
    • Add new facility records.
  • Live Map: View plots of all active and completed calls.
  • Patient Edit: View any patient record, and make changes to demographics, but not allowed to modify billing data, payments, preauths, or attached documents, nor allowed to merge duplicate records.
  • Patient Documents: Add documents -- including prior auths -- to any patient record.
  • Shifts:
    • View all active and ended shift records where the crew member was onboard.
    • Book a new shift with the crew member onboard, selecting a vehicle and accompanying crew members.
    • Modify any active or ended shift record where the crew member was onboard.
    • End any shift where the crew member was onboard. Note that AngelTrack in unattended mode will auto-end any shift when it reaches two hours past its expected end time, so it is not necessary for crew members to manually end their shifts.

*Crews can review their patient's/customer's prior calls up to 7 days in the past. This interval can be modified by visiting the Preferences page, under Settings.

Simplified Dispatch Board

When AngelTrack is in Self-Dispatch PCR mode, crew members who also have full dispatcher privileges can still use the normal dispatch board. All other crew members can instead use the simplified dispatch board, which grants the following privileges:

  • See all unassigned and assigned dispatches in their assigned zone. (Employee zone assignment is determined by their assigned station, which is configured in their employee file.)
  • Assign themselves to any unassigned dispatch.
  • Join any assigned dispatch as an additional responder.
  • Unassign themselves from any dispatch that has at least one other responder already assigned.
  • Push themselves forward or backward in their progress.
  • Push forward or backward any other responders who are assigned to the same dispatch as they are, in case the other responders request it.
  • Access any run ticket to which they are currently assigned.

Note that a crew who wants to unassign themselves from a dispatch must first contact another crew, and ask them to join the dispatch as an additional responder, so as to take over the call and prevent it from being an orphan. More about this below.

Self-Dispatch Procedure

Here are the steps that a crew member will take when self-dispatching in Self-Dispatch PCR mode:

  1. A new call arrives on the crew's radio or telephone.
  2. A crew member clicks the add Add.large-4 button which appears in the top-left corner of all AngelTrack pages when Self-Dispatch PCR mode is active. Meanwhile his partner begins preparations to roll.
  3. The crew member fills out the Dispatch Create page, inputting the pertinent information. For an EMS transport call, it is especially important for the crew member to check and attach the relevant origin facility record (if any), destination facility record, and patient record. These records contribute a large amount of information to the chart, and in the case of a transport, they are usually required in order to pass state data validation.
  4. If the crew intends to decline the call, then the crew member will click the "Save and Cancel" button, then input the reasons for declining and save. AngelTrack will mark the call as a cancellation, and return the crew member to the Crew Home page. No further bookkeeping will be required, because non-roll cancellations are never reportable to any state database. The rest of these instructions do not apply.
  5. If the crew member is already in an active shift, then AngelTrack will offer a checkbox to ☑ Assign this call to my shift. Otherwise, after saving the new dispatch, AngelTrack will show the crew member the Shift Begin page, inviting him to specify his posting station, vehicle, and crewmates. AngelTrack will then assign the new call to the crew member's shift.
  6. AngelTrack will then show the crew member the Run Call page, so that he can mark himself "enroute" and begin the normal process of running a call.
  7. At the end of the encounter, the Run Call page will offer the "Close This Call" button, which marks the dispatch as completed.
  8. The crew member will finish the report, and submit it to QA. If the trip was a dud, i.e. no transport ensued, or the crew never even arrived on-scene, they must still fill out their report and submit it to QA, because these situations are nevertheless reportable to the state. The crew member should make sure that the disposition fields -- at the top of the Followup in the PCR -- accurately reflect the actions taken. If the whole situation was an error and they need to change the call into a genuine cancellation, they can do so by clicking the run ID offered in the list of incomplete reports, switch to the "Billing" tab, and change the Execution Status field to "Cancelled".
  9. Afterward, if the crew will no longer be onboard the vehicle, then any of them have the option to end their shift in AngelTrack, if perhaps there are supervisors monitoring the active shift records and wanting to know who is still available. Otherwise, AngelTrack will automatically end their shift when it reaches two hours past its expected end time.

Integration with the CAD API

AngelTrack's CAD API can accept new calls from a third party, without human intervention. The CAD API can place the new calls onto the dispatch board as unassigned trips, or it can auto-assign them to your crews if the third-party CAD already knows your vehicle callsigns and crew certificate numbers and communicates them to AngelTrack.

This works perfectly fine with Self-Dispatch PCR mode.

If the third-party CAD pushes calls but does not auto-assign them to your crews, then you must have someone in the loop who has dispatcher privileges, to perform the assignments as the calls arrive.

To learn more, refer to the CAD API Guide.

Multiple Responders

AngelTrack supports multiple responders assigned to a single dispatch.

If one crew calls another crew on the radio, and asks them to join, the secondary crew follows this procedure:

  1. Click the dispatch-board link that appears in the upper-left corner of all AngelTrack pages when AngelTrack is in Self-Dispatch PCR mode.
  2. Scroll down to the "Assigned Dispatches" grid and find the call in question.
  3. Click the "Join This Call" button.
  4. If the secondary crew is not already on-shift, then AngelTrack will present the Shift Begin page, so they can put themselves on a vehicle. AngelTrack will then assign them to the call as a secondary responder.

If they later change their mind before arriving on-scene, they can revisit to the "Assigned Dispatches" grid and click the "Leave This Call" button... but that button is only available if there is at least one other responder already assigned. If there is only one responding crew assigned to a call, that crew is not allowed to leave the call -- a different crew must first join it.

Crew Training Prerequisites

Because Self-Dispatch PCR mode exposes to crew members what would otherwise be dispatcher-only areas and functions, all crews using Self-Dispatch PCR mode must learn the following, in addition to their regular AngelTrack crew training:

  • Basic Dispatch Guide as they will be creating and editing their own dispatches
  • Shifts as they will be beginning, editing, and ending their own shifts
  • Facility Records since they will be searching, attaching, editing, and detaching facility records from their dispatches
  • Billing Fields in Dispatch if self-dispatched calls are going to be billable, since they will be setting the bill-to data on their dispatches

Automatic Closure of Dispatches and Shifts

When AngelTrack is in unattended mode or headless mode, it will automatically end any shift record when it reaches two hours past its expected end time and has no active dispatches assigned.

AngelTrack normally auto-closes any lingering will-call dispatch once it has sat on the dispatch board for three months. In headless mode, since there is no dispatch office, the expiration date for lingering will-calls is shortened to seven days.

Caveats and Limitations

In headless mode, AngelTrack allows crews to assign calls to themselves even if their shift does not appear capable of running the call. AngelTrack must allow this because there is no dispatcher on duty who can second-guess the crew's capabilities versus the requested service. And in any event, the problem might simply be a missing certificate, which must not be allowed to interfere with a crew immediately responding to a call that they personally know themselves capable of handling.

Crew members are still not permitted to alter these critical fields:

  • Time Activated
  • Time Assigned
  • Time Closed

As before, edits to those fields requires a special procedure and high AngelTrack access.

Crew members in headless mode are not allowed to book round-trips, recurring calls, scheduled (future) shifts, or recurring shifts. Any return-trip must be booked separately from its outbound trip; however, crews are allowed to book wait-and-return trips, in which case AngelTrack will automatically book the necessary return trips and assign them to the same crews during trip-flip.

AngelTrack will not send the usual notification messages about shift start, shift end, dispatch assigned, and dispatch updated when those actions were performed by the crew member.

You will need at least one supervisor who has "Dispatcher" privileges, who can use that access to clean up errors and accidental duplicates which exceed the access enjoyed by crew members.

Crew members can assign calls to themselves, but cannot delegate calls to an affiliate; delegations can be performed only by someone with full dispatcher privileges.