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Health First and Palm Bay Police Department Receive National Recognition for Innovative Telemedicine Project to Help Patients Before they Get to the Hospital

Rockledge, FL (PRWEB) May 03, 2013

Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center and the Palm Bay Police Department recently received the prestigious 2013 Award for Innovation in Local Government from the Alliance for Innovation. The two organizations were recognized for their development of the TACTEL Tactical Telemedicine Program. TACTEL provides police medics in high-risk situations with a direct video and audio link to the Trauma Center at Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center so surgeons can advise them on what to do for specific injuries before they even get to the hospital. This is the first telemedicine program of its kind that links civilian law enforcement medics with trauma teams.

“When someone is severely injured, the actions taken and decisions made within that first hour are crucial to obtaining the best possible outcome for a patient,” said Health First Trauma Surgeon and co-creator of the program Dr. Peter Pappas. “This technology is a way for us to squeeze every second out of that critical golden hour.”

Program leaders say bringing life-saving care closer to the initial time of injury is the key to survival. Following the tragic death of Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Barbara Pill last year, they wanted to do something to provide training to tactical operators who are already in harm’s way.

Through this program, SWAT medics from local law enforcement agencies, along with Health First instructors, attended the Health First-sponsored Tactical Casualty Care Course (TCCC). “With several of us gaining instructor status we are now prepared and able to offer this program to Tactical Medical personnel on an ongoing basis, knowing that lives will be saved,” said Health First Training Center Supervisor David Schmitt, EMT-Paramedic. “Without life-saving care in the field, many victims would never survive long enough to benefit from the advanced care services of the Trauma Center at Holmes Regional Medical Center or any hospital.”

The City of Palm Bay and Health First were chosen from more than 70 applications from municipalities and their community partners across the United States and Canada. The award was presented during the Transforming Local Government Conference 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The project was developed after discussions between Health First and the Palm Bay Police Department. TACTEL has gained national recognition for its potential applications as a tool to enhance officer safety and assist in disaster management. TACTEL continues in the long tradition of leadership in telemedicine at Health First. Health First Vital Watch is one of America’s first tele-ICUs and the Trauma Center at Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center is a leader in Florida’s Trauma Telemedicine Network.

About Health First
Founded in 1995, Health First is Central Florida’s only fully integrated health system and employs more than 7,500 people and has four hospitals (including Holmes Regional Medical Center, Palm Bay Hospital, Cape Canaveral Hospital and Viera Hospital). Health First Health Plans also offers a wide variety of health insurance plan options for Brevard and Indian River Counties. In addition, Health First is home to Brevard County’s only Trauma Center. Health First Medical Group is the largest multi-specialty physician group on the Space Coast. Health First offers numerous outpatient and wellness services, including four Pro-Health and Fitness Centers. Visit for more information.

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