The EMS Compass

The EMS Compass

May 11, 2015

What determines “success” in EMS?  How do we know that we are doing a good job?  Is it measured by our department’s ROSC rate?  Or maybe it’s response time compliance (but I hope it’s not).  What makes a good paramedic a good paramedic?  Do we determine it by looking at how successful they are at starting IV’s or intubating patients?  Is it something simpler like the number of people who thank them at the end of the call because they genuinely feel better?

With EMS still in its infancy there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to figure out exactly what our impact is on society.  We are a high speed, high volume industry that does not take nearly enough time to slow down and really look at what we are doing.  The biggest reasons for that lie in the fact that we lack the knowledge to really know what data to collect, or once we have the data we lack the guidance from within the industry to understand exactly how to process that data in a way that will allow us to paint a clear picture of how well we are performing.

Which brings me to today’s post.

As I mentioned in my post last week, I have taken on a lot of different responsibilities over the past couple of months.  One of my favorite ones in my involvement in the EMS Compass project.  I was asked late last year just before I headed out to Nashville, Tennessee for EMS World Expo if I wanted to be involved in a project tasked with developing statistical benchmarks and measurements for prehospital care.  From the sounds of what was to come, EMS Compass combined many of the things that I really enjoy about the field so I had no choice but to say yes.

In the last five months we have had a number of conference calls, and two face to face meetings.  The team that I am involved with on the Measurement Design Group is made up of some of the smartest EMS thinkers in the field today.  And then there I am, adding my two cents and contributing as the lone field level provider in the room.  There is a lot of responsibility resting on my shoulders, and quite honestly a lot of fun.  I learn more and more with each step forward that this project takes.

The process that we have developed is not a closed door one.  The two organizations spearheading this project (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Association of State EMS Officials) realize that in order for this project to work input is needed from every corner of the industry.  That is why they have opened up a Call for Measurements from anybody who wishes to throw their two cents in on what they feel that our group should be looking at.

Public submission of measures is opened until the end of the month.  If there is something that you feel passionate about please, I implore you to submit it.  Also, if you would like more information about the project a webinar has been scheduled for Wednesday May 13 from 2pm-3pm EST.  You can register for it here.

Finally, if anyone has any thoughts on this project, positive or negative, I welcome you to either post your comments here or send me an email at  Help us shape the future of EMS.  Help us help you determine exactly what your impact is on your community and the overall healthcare system.

Here are some links relevant to the EMS Compass:

The EMS Compass homepage with a myriad of information about what we are looking to accomplish.

The return of EMS Garage featuring Nick Nudell, Ray Barishansky and I talking with host Chris Montera about the project.

The Call for Measures which is open until May 31st.

The signup page for the webinar being held on May 13th from 2pm-3pm EST.


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