Within EMS, very little data exists about many aspects of the profession. In an effort to address this shortfall, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), in collaboration with the Center for Leadership, Innovation and Research in EMS, has developed an anonymous system for EMS practitioners to report near-miss and line of duty death (LODD) incidents by answering a series of questions in an online format. The system was introduced thisafternoon by NAEMT President Connie A. Meyer and Gary Wingrove of the Center for Leadership, Innovation and Research in EMS at EMS Today, the JEMS conference and exposition in Baltimore.
The purpose of the system is to collect and aggregate data that will then be analyzed and used in the development of EMS policies and procedures, and for use in training, educating and preventing similar events from occurring in the future. No individual responses will be shared or transmitted to other parties. These Near Miss and LODD Online Reporting Tools are now live at www.emseventreport.org. These tools, along with an already existing tool to report patient safety events, form the EMS Voluntary Event Notification Tool (E.V.E.N.T.).
The aggregated data collected will be provided to state EMS offices and the appropriate federal agencies with jurisdiction over EMS on a quarterly and annual basis. Timely aggregated reports submitted through a variety of venues will make E.V.E.N.T. a living mechanism for change. It is envisioned that one of the primary end users of this data will be those responsible for the development of EMS policies at the state and federal levels.
“As healthcare providers, we need to be mindful of what is happening in the other sectors of health as change occurring for hospitals and clinics inevitably eventually makes its way to EMS,” says Wingrove.
He explains that the reporting of performance has gone beyond a few simple measures to now address both 'never events' and preventable readmissions. As other parts of healthcare have evolved in their new environment, patient safety has hit the national spotlight. The E.V.E.N.T. system is structured now to not only address patient safety, but also practitioner safety. “We provide an opportunity for the EMS community to collectively learn about how and why the things we do, or the tools we work with, sometimes end with bad outcome,” he says. “We can use E.V.E.N.T. to aggregate data from the U.S. and Canada to spot trends, discover practices that are safe or risky, and periodically provide analysis back to the EMS community.”
Wingrove explains one of the ways it can be used: If a piece of equipment has a failure in more than one state or Canadian province, until now there has been no system to connect the dots. Each of the providers only knows that they had an issue, and no one knows there were really four events. Therefore, there is no way to alert a manufacturer of a product defect, or to alert the EMS community about changes in practice that may prevent failures altogether. This much-needed system should be able to change that.
Support of this online reporting tool by EMS organizations across our nation will be key to its successful use. Urging the EMS community to embrace and use E.V.E.N.T., NAEMT asks all national and state EMS organizations to become site partners for E.V.E.N.T. Site partners will be recognized by posting their logos on the E.V.E.N.T. site, and will receive the aggregated quarterly and annual system reports. In exchange, site partners will post a link to the system in a prominent location on their web sites and encourage their members to use the system. Services that already have internal reporting processes are asked to also submit their events into E.V.E.N.T.
“Since EMS first began, data collection has not been our strong suit. This project will allow us to start collecting information which will help reduce injuries and possibly save lives of those of us in the profession,” says Don Lundy, NAEMT President-Elect. “We have no idea how many 'near-misses' are not recorded and, later on, become a 'hit' – creating a devastating injury,” he says.
Upon request, NAEMT and the Center for Leadership, Innovation and Research in EMS are able to provide representatives to speak about the system at local and national EMS meetings or conferences. Please contact NAEMT at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about the system.
Formed in 1975 and today more than 32,000 members strong, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) is the only national association dedicated to representing the professional interests of all emergency medical services (EMS) practitioners, including paramedics, advanced emergency medical technicians, emergency medical technicians emergency medical responders and other professionals working in prehospital emergency medicine. NAEMT members work in all sectors of EMS, including government service agencies, fire departments, hospital-based ambulance services, private companies, industrial and special operations settings, and in the military.