As 2009 began, Americans entered the new year with mixed emotions. A change in political parties and the election of the first African-American president brought great hope and convinced many that a new future was at hand. At the same time, the nation is witnessing the unknown future of the American auto industry, the economy is in a downturn, and city and county governments have to tighten their belts and hold their breath until they get some sign that the future will be brighter.
The next few years will likely be challenging for EMS. Call volumes are apt to continue to rise at a time when controlling costs will be on the front of everyone’s mind. For many, it’s scary because they see it only as a time of having to do more with less, struggling for survival and awaiting service reductions. Others see it as a time of great opportunity and innovation as we are forced to focus on what’s essential and re-evaluate the services provided and the ability of EMS to meet customer’s needs. It’s an opportunity for us to start asking why we do things the way we do and how we can do them better, or whether we should do them at all.