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EMS Community Honors Jack and Todd Stout at Pinnacle

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Legendary EMS economist and pioneering visionary Jack Stout received a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Pinnacle Conference. Stout's son, First Watch President Todd Stout, was also in attendance and was awarded the 2014 Pinnacle Leadership Award.

In the early 1980s, Jack Stout wrote a series of articles for JEMS introducing the concepts of the public utility model, fractile response times, system status management (SSM) and high-performance EMS. For the next 15 years, through his writings and conference presentations, he worked tirelessly to explore new thinking about how EMS is delivered.

 “Jack Stout was an incredibly important voice in the early development of EMS,” Founding Editor of JEMS Keith Griffiths said.

Reflecting on Jack Stout’s contribution to modern EMS, JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman said, “Jack Stout has been a respected as well as reviled pioneer and zealot in the EMS community. As an economist, Jack brought to light what many knew but kept quiet about: that EMS services in high call volume systems were scheduling and using excessive, costly resources. So he developed processes by which EMS managers could look at call volume in a predictive manner, showing peak times for calls as well as ‘down’ time when the number of ambulances could be reduced.”

Heightman then explained how Jack Stout created SSM, which combines peak load demand analysis with the idea of ambulance posting to better utilize resources. Many crews hated him because his concept caused them to move to different posts frequently throughout their shift, often with limited break time, but today, it’s an iconic and important part of EMS history.

Even though JEMS founder Jim Page didn’t always agree with Jack Stout’s push to keep crews cramped inside ambulances, Page respected the data and rationale for flexible deployment of resources and encouraged Stout to present his new concepts in the magazine.

“In just our third issue, JEMS introduced Jack to the broader EMS audience with his first article on a new, complex, but powerful concept: the public utility model,” Griffiths said. “He wrote many additional articles and a regular column, articulating his ideas as one of the best writers to grace the pages of any profession’s journals.”

“Never afraid of controversy, Jack challenged us all to look at EMS from a new perspective,” said Jay Fitch, founding partner of Fitch & Associates and chair of the Pinnacle Program Committee. “His principles of patient-centered operational policies and appropriate deployment of resources still resonate and inform. Whether you always agreed with him or not, you can’t deny that his thinking greatly shaped modern EMS.”

Jack Stout’s writings have been archived at www.jackstout.com. 

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