The implementation of a holistic protocol system, such as Total Response®, is in fact the assurance of quality service. Standardized protocols are a tool for providing service that is consistently reliable across varying conditions and encourages the accurate collection of information. With this type of call handling uniformity, efficiency is increased and response times become measurable and predictable. Though, the utilization of standardized tools isn’t possible without the proper training of the user. Certification training is validation of operator competency and knowledge of the protocol system. The retrospective assessment of calls, commonly known as quality assurance, is the measurement of adherence to the pre-determined standards.
The utilization of call assessment tools allows for the collection and evaluation of objective performance data. This data should be used to assess the overall performance of the system or process. The cumulative evaluation of data may highlight performance strengths as well as areas requiring additional training. Should individual performance be assessed, PowerPhone encourages the use of a positive approach – specifically meaning that call assessment is an opportunity to catch someone doing something good. Research has shown that positive reinforcement is the most effective method of behavior modification. As such, feedback should be constructive and encourage continual systematic improvement rather than the criticism of individual performance.
Agencies that are interested in the continual improvement of service may seek to achieve Total Response Accreditation. The benefits of accreditation include continual consultative services from PowerPhone subject matter experts, preferential access to training opportunities, and the validation of systematic performance. Agencies that are considering accreditation are expected to commit to the following fundamental processes:
- Train and certify call takers in at least one emergency call handling discipline (EMD, FSD, LED)
- Adopt call handling protocols
- Develop standard(s) of care
- Train and certify in Call Assessment
- Measure and record performance data
Total Response Accreditation supports the efforts of management to develop and continually improve the standard of service. The implementation of a holistic protocol system results in a more responsive 911 operations – operations that demonstrates both consistency and flexibility. This is achieved by the regular measurement of performance, comparison to pre-determined standards, and the adjustment as necessary.