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Deployment Timeline

The bureau used the following deployment timeline for POLARIS.

—September 2006:AIS or NEMSIS phase began. Agencies were able to begin submitting data in NEMSIS format and stop submitting data in AIS format. However, AIS format was still accepted. (January 2008 for air ambulance agencies.)
—2006 & 2007:Rollout orientations and user training sessions throughout the state. Scheduled agency transitions from AIS to NEMSIS. (2008 for air ambulance agencies.)
—July 2007:NEMSIS-only. Agencies were required to submit data in NEMSIS format. Utah Administrative Rule R426-7 was changed to reflect the new requirements. Agencies not meeting the requirement were subject to the NEMSIS Transition Extension Policy. (January 2009 for air ambulance agencies.)

Non-compliant agencies should contact Joshua Legler at the Bureau (contact information).

Deployment Status

Following is Utah's NEMSIS/POLARIS deployment status as of December 30, 2010:

  • Agencies live: 121 of 139 (87%)
  • Hospitals trained and live: 39 of 46 (85%)

Transition status map
Fully transitioned counties in dark blue, partially transitioned counties in light blue
Transition status map


Completed Work

  • Base system: The base system provides the core functionality of POLARIS. (January 31, 2006).
  • Disconnected Mode: Disconnected mode provides the ability to initialize a PCR while connected to the Internet, then disconnect and complete the PCR while disconnected. Once reconnected to the Internet, the PCR can be uploaded to POLARIS. (March 31, 2006).
  • Enhanced Time Entry: Enhanced time entry requires users to only input the hour and minute of each call time after initially entering the date of the call. The system detects whether or not the call crossed midnight. An Advanced button is available in case a special situation (such as a call that spans more than two days) needs to be entered. Also, the system auto-tabs through the times. (March 31, 2006).
  • Consolidated Display of Units: This enhancement reduces confusion on data entry by putting patient age (a number) and age units (years, months, days, or hours) directly next to each other in the user interface. The same change applies medication dosage and medication dosage units, and other similar elements. (March 31, 2006).
  • Enhanced Personnel Section: The enhanced personnel section provides data managers a quick list of all personnel in the agency. Then, the data manager can click on a person to bring up the details for that person. The personnel list can be sorted by name, EMS ID, certification level, and phone number. (April 30, 2006).
  • Improved PDF: The printable PCR is redesigned to be more aesthetically pleasing, easy to read, and compact. The typical PCR is anticipated to fit on about two pages. (April 30, 2006).
  • Multiple-agency Users: A single user can be granted access under multiple agencies. However, a limitation in the authorization model mandated that the user have the same roles in all agencies. This enhancement allows a user to have a different set of roles for each agency that he/she belongs to. (June 30, 2006).
  • Bug Fixes: Bugs identified during beta testing that have not been fixed previously are eliminated in preparation for the September go-live of POLARIS. (July 31, 2006).
  • Minor Bug Fixes and Feature Releases: Bugs identified after the go-live date are fixed as they become identified, and minor feature enhancements are implemented. (Ongoing, approximately every 4 months).
  • Import/Export Web Service: With web services, POLARIS provides a back-end interface to upload and download NEMSIS XML data. Vendors or agency IT staff can program their systems to automatically use the back-end web services interface. (September 12, 2007).
  • Analysis Suite: The analysis suite allows multi-dimensional analysis of data entered into POLARIS. The tool allows online ad-hoc queries, generates tables and charts, and creates downloads for use in spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel. (September 12, 2007).
  • Access to Printable PCR From Within PCR Data Entry Screens: A user can access the printable version of the PCR currently being worked on by clicking on a button within the data entry screens, rather than needing to exit the data entry screens and search for the PCR. This is especially helpful for printing out a PCR at the end of doing data entry without requiring additional steps. (May 27, 2008).
  • Availability of All PCRs to Final Destination Hospital: A hospital user can choose to see all PCRs for the care given to a patient during an incident—e.g., first responder -> transporting agency -> receiving hospital -> interfacility transport -> trauma center hospital—even though the user's hospital was not the destination of all of those PCRs. (May 27, 2008).
  • Incident-only and Patient-only Linkage: This enhancement extends the PCR linkage feature to different patients on the same incident (incident-only linkage), and to the same patient on different incidents (patient-only linkage). (May 27, 2008).
  • Re-design of Column-style Data Entry Sections: Column-style sections are redesigned to use the default layout and show only one instance (for example, one set of vital signs). Clicking on the "More�" button causes a second instance to appear without requiring any communication with the server. Sections can also be copied (e.g., when readministering a particular medication (August 4, 2008).
  • Improved Lists in Agency Demographics: Yearly Statistics, Other Destinations, and Medical Devices are changed to an easier layout. Stations and Vehicles are changed to hyperlinked lists, following the model used to enhance the Personnel section. (August 4, 2008).
  • Injury Matrix as a Matrix: The injury matrix is rendered as a matrix, with body areas on one axis, field values on the other axis, and checkboxes at the intersections. (August 4, 2008).
  • User Administration User Overview: This enhancement provides a user administrator or hospital user administrator with a list of all users that have access within their organization. (August 4, 2008).
  • Amendment Logs: POLARIS records all changes made to patient care reports in an amendment log. This enhancement makes the amendment log available to users through the user interface. (September 9, 2008).
  • Multi-page Lists: Any list (such as search results in "Search PCRs") is broken down into multiple pages if it contains over 50 items. (September 9, 2008).
  • Requirements Document for Improved Logic and Validation: The requirements document lays the groundwork for enhanced logic and validation, which will help to make PCRs both quicker to complete and more accurate. (September 9, 2008).
  • Unit/Crew Memory: This enhancement allows a user to click a button that says "Use my last crew" when completing a PCR, instead of needing to individually add each crew member from the agency personnel list. After selecting "Use my last crew," the user can then add to or remove from the list. (September 9, 2008).
  • Predesigned Reports: This analysis suite feature provides reports that have been predesigned to present analysis of certain common topics. (October 2, 2008).
  • Advanced Search: POLARIS provides an interface that allows a user to perform more advanced searches using nearly any combination of NEMSIS data elements in the search criteria. (April 14, 2009.)
  • User Administration Web Service: POLARIS provides web service operations that web service clients can use to manage user access to POLARIS. (June 10, 2009).
  • Web Service for Hospitals: POLARIS provides web service operations that can be used by hospital web service clients to integrate with hospital medical records. (June 10, 2009).
  • Improved Logic: POLARIS auto-fills and hides/shows elements based on the values provided for other elements. For example, if "Cancelled" is chosen as the disposition of a call, then only a few elements areshown for the user to fill out. (August 19, 2009).
  • Additional Data in the Analysis Suite: Through this work, the majority of NEMSIS elements are avaiable for reporting in the Analysis Suite. (December 16, 2009).
  • Web Service Operations: Advanced search capability and the ability to export PCRs in PDF format are added to the web service operations. (May 18, 2010).
  • Printable PCR Improvements: The printable patient care report design is improved based on experience using the previous design; a main goal is to improve the ability of a clinical care provider to quickly scan the report. (May 18, 2010).
  • User/Personnel Linkage: User Administrators and/or Data Managers can make an explicit link between a user account and a personnel record, rather than relying on the user ID matching the personnel's state EMS ID. (May 18, 2010).
  • Crew Member PCR Access: At the discretion of a User Administrator, a user will be able to read and/or amend PCRs that the user did not create but on which the person was a crew member. (May 18, 2010).
  • Extended Search for Agency Users: Users in EMS agencies can view the PCRs from other agencies that responded to the same patient at the same incident. (May 18, 2010).
  • Web Service Failure Details: If an importPCR, updatePCR, or updateDEMO operation fails in the web service, POLARIS provides detail of the reason(s) for the failure in addition to the failure code. (October 6, 2010).
  • Data Entry Validation: POLARIS used to only check that each element of a PCR contains information that is valid according to the NEMSIS specification. Additional validation performs cross-element validation checks and agency-specific validation checks. (October 6, 2010).
  • PCR Details Ticker: A "ticker" displays across the top of each page of a PCR during data entry to remind the user of key details, like the incident number, patient name, and times. (October 6, 2010).
  • Save Disconnected Mode PCR Form: The disconnected mode PCR form is optimized so that it can be saved on a computer. (October 6, 2010).
  • Security Audit: A security audit is conducted to ensure POLARIS continues to implement best practices for the protection of healthcare data. (December 22, 2010).
  • Improved PCR Auditing: Improved auditing capabilities enable EMS agency staff to see a history of all actions taken on a PCR, including edits, exports, and views. (February 7, 2011).
  • NEMSIS Version 3 Preparation: The requirements for implementing NEMSIS version 3, while still supporting version 2, were compiled. (October 17, 2011).
  • Quality Assurance Workflow: POLARIS supports agency QA/QI efforts by enabling PCRs to queued for review by designated users, and by enabling reviewers to return a PCR to its author for correction and resubmission. (October 25, 2011).
  • Integration with Trauma Registry: Integrated prehospital and trauma registry data is accessible in the POLARIS Analysis Suite. (October 31, 2011).

Current Work

The following features are currently being developed on POLARIS. Estimated availability dates are provided in parentheses.

  • Integration with Emergency Department Data: Hospital outcomes will be available in the POLARIS Analysis Suite. (December 31, 2012).
  • Server Upgrades: The POLARIS system will be moved to new servers. (December 31, 2012).
  • Dashboards: Dashboards are graphical snapshot representations of current data (e.g., a breakdown of yesterday's EMS calls) that can be placed anywhere within POLARIS. (December 31, 2012).
  • NEMSIS version 3 Implementation: POLARIS will fully support NEMSIS version 3, while also accepting NEMSIS version 2 data. (December 31, 2013).

Scheduled Future Work

The following features have been scheduled for completion after current work is completed. While subject to change, there is a high certainty that these features will be implemented as described. Estimated availability dates are provided in parentheses but are still subject to significant change.

  • Integration with Certification and Licensing System: POLARIS will retrieve information from the Bureau's certification and licensing system located at bems.utah.gov to automatically synchronize the personnel and vehicle lists in POLARIS. (December 31, 2013).
  • Integration with Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) Systems: POLARIS will retrieve information from dispatch data systems and auto-populate relevant elements in PCRs. (December 31, 2013).

Future Work Identified But Not Yet Scheduled

The following features have been identified but have not yet been scheduled for completion. Priorities and cost-benefit analyses will dictate whether and when these features are implemented.

  • Short Form: POLARIS will provide a "short form" for quick data entry of the critical information on a PCR. The short form will support efforts to provide critical information to hospitals more quickly and the ability to respond to mass casualty incidents. The blank short form will be able to be saved on a user's computer (rather than requiring the user to be logged into POLARIS to start the report), and it will be usable on mobile devices, such as smartphones.
  • FDA Drug List: Integration of FDA drug list lookups for Current Medications and Medication Allergies elements. Based on user input, the lookup would propose matching drug names and the user could click on one to add it to the list.
  • Supply Tracking: This enhancement will add NEMSIS research elements capable of collecting supplies used on a call, to support billing functions in agencies.
  • Geographic Centering: This analysis suite feature will calculate the geographic center (using GIS coordinates) of a selection of incident locations. This will allow agencies to identify "hot spots" within their service areas.
  • Population Data: The analysis suite will be enhanced to provide population data for geographic areas, including urban, rural, frontier, and sub-frontier designations.
  • Signature Capture: This enhancement will enable users to capture a patient's (or guardian's) signature electronically, eliminating the need for a separate piece of paper for collecting signatures.
  • Improved PCR Linkage: This enhancement will enable users select the most complete information from among multiple PCRs when the PCR linkage feature identifies more than one matching PCR.

System Change Logs

Click on a date/version to see specific changes implemented.

Updated August 25, 2014