As part of nationwide efforts to improve emergency medical care, researchers at the Mount Sinai Health System, in collaboration with UC San Diego Health, have released a national framework report titled "Promoting Innovations in Emergency Medical Services" that identifies regulatory, financial, and technological obstacles to improving local and state EMS systems. The report also provides recommendations to create a more dynamic system that is more responsive to society's needs.
As EMS agencies strive to innovate within the current infrastructure, they face challenges from existing laws, regulations, and industry perceptions. Researchers identified seven major themes of these challenges--regulation, finance, education, regional EMS coordination, interdisciplinary collaboration, medical direction, and data/telecommunications--and made more than 250 recommendations for stakeholders to overcome barriers to EMS innovation.
"The potential for innovation in EMS is enormous, but we need to find ways to unleash that potential, so that emergency medical services can be transformed to better meet the needs of patients and communities," said project co-director Kevin Munjal, MD, MPH, MSCR, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
"Tomorrow's innovations will improve domestic preparedness, increase patient access to care, decrease health care costs, and improve community resilience," said project co-director James Dunford, MD, Professor Emeritus at UC San Diego School of Medicine and EMS Medical Director for the City of San Diego.
The project's leadership was composed of a diverse group of stakeholders, including representation from state and local government, EMS agencies, health systems, health care professions, and experts in paramedicine, economics, public health, and political science. The process included a national survey, stakeholder interviews, regional conferences, national meetings, and public comment.
The research was supported by grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of Health Affairs, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.