Analytics, Accuracy, and Accountability drove Toggenburg Ski Patrol to adopt electronic incident reporting system.

Medic52 featured in Trail Sweep, the Official Publication of the Eastern Division of the National Ski Patrol Volume 59, No 2 Winter 2016/17. Here is the article in full, and you can download an electronic copy of the magazine at the end of this article.

By Liz Kiggins, Toggenburg Ski Patroller

“Paper forms. We all know the pros and cons. It is nice to reach into a file for a quick look at information. But inevitably entries are missing, so the information you need isn’t there. Or the written incident description is illegible or incomplete, because the patrollers were, rightly, more concerned about treating the injured patient (IP) than filling out lengthy paperwork. And while looking at one report can be helpful, the data contained in all of the reports is worthless unless it is re-entered into a spreadsheet for analysis – a time consuming, laborious, and error-prone task. Finally, there is the concern of patient confidentiality. After all, anyone can grab that file as quickly as you can.”

“At Toggenburg Ski Patrol, we experienced all of those collection, organization, and safeguarding issues. As we saw all medical records converting to digital format, we concluded that there must be a number of digital solutions for incident reporting as well. So during the summer of 2015 a small team of patrollers began to research available alternatives.”

“First, we reached out to the large patrols out west, thinking that they would always be on the cutting edge. To our surprise, we couldn’t find one large, paid patrol using electronic incident reporting. So we set about searching for a software solution. Again to our surprise, the best product by far came from a company in Australia – Medic52 (”

“Australia? Do they even ski in Australia? (They do, of course). Would a solution built in a culture over 10,000 miles away work for a Central New York Region patrol?”

“After a brief email exchange, the developer of Medic52 software, Duncan Isaksen-Loxton, offered to do a web call with our team. Within minutes it was clear to us that Duncan was not only a dedicated patroller, but a skilled IT developer. Duncan lived the frustrations of paper forms, and decided to do something about it. So he created the Medic52 platform, and even wrote a book on the topic called The Smartphone Medic. Although we are a small patrol, Duncan thought that Toggenburg would be the perfect USA test site for the Australian-based program. He agreed to work with us in return for real-time feedback from patrollers, affording Medic52 more data points with which to improve and update the software based on real world usage.”

“Working with someone on the opposite side of the globe proved to be extremely simple. Using the program GoToMeeting (, we were able to have short, productive sessions with Duncan, making minor adjustments to some terminology in the application so that it conformed to our own. The cloud-based Medic52 system updated almost immediately. So before snow covered the ground in upstate New York we were ready to go.”

“Our final implementation challenge was training our patrollers so they could become familiar with the software before ski Analytics, Accuracy, and Accountability drove Toggenburg Ski Patrol to adopt electronic incident reporting system by Liz Kiggins, Toggenburg Ski Patrol Incident Reports Go Digital season began. Again using GoToMeeting, we hosted online training sessions that patrollers could conveniently attend from home, so participation was high.”

“A few patrollers needed some one-on-one training to get comfortable. A seasoned patroller, Bob Hough, thought the software would be difficult to learn and was not quite willing to give up the paper process. But with practice, Medic52 became second nature to use, and he now feels it is more thorough and will improve the patrol’s training needs in the future. Tech-savvy patrollers, such as Tristan Julian, embraced the program right away, even saying it made the incident recording process less stressful, because it’s quick to use and very user-friendly.”

“In Medic52, incidents are entered either on an iPad docked in the patrol room, or on a patroller’s personal iOS or Android smartphone. The graphical interface is very intuitive, making it simple for patrollers to find and fill specific fields. The app also graphically displays trending vitals as entered. Using a smartphone, the incident can be opened on the hill and continued in the patrol room. Once the report is complete, a patroller signs it using their finger, closes it, and it is then automatically wiped from their personal smartphone for security. At that point only those with the appropriate security can access the report, insuring that the patient’s information is secure.”

“Because certain fields are required, Medic52 ensures that key data is always collected. If important information is missing, the software prompts the user to go back and enter the data. The application also helps streamline the process, for example when you get the patient’s date of birth it will figure out their age. The patient’s personal statement is entered and saved as an audio recording, which is more authentic and much faster to log. Photos can also be saved as part of the report.”

“The system is hosted on Amazon Web Services infrastructure. Personally identifiable information is secured using bank-level encryption, and is only accessible with the application. Access is managed with secure login so that only authorized individuals can get to the data, and they can do so right when they need it. No more copies of incident report forms left on an unattended desk!”

“But the best aspect of electronic reporting is that incident data is automatically aggregated, and can be analyzed based on every piece of data we collect. Using the analytics built into Medic 52, we can adjust patrol schedules based upon the probability of accidents due to day, weather, snow conditions, and many other factors.”

“Feedback from our inaugural season with Medic52 was extremely positive overall. We are looking forward to our second year spending more time patrolling and less time worried about data collection.”

Download a PDF of the Winter 2016/17 Trail Sweep Publication