“We’re excited because measuring performance is the first step toward improving it,” said NASEMSO Executive Director Dia Gainor. “Developing a set of performance measures will give EMS agencies across the country the ability to ensure they are providing high-quality, patient-centered care. We see this as a huge opportunity to transform how we do EMS in this country.”
The two-year project, funded by NHTSA, will engage a wide range of EMS stakeholders to develop performance measures that are relevant to EMS agencies, regulators, and patients. The measures will be based on the latest National EMS Information System (NEMSIS) version data and will allow local and state EMS agencies to use their own data meaningfully. The project will facilitate an inclusive and open development process, with participation from dozens of EMS and healthcare experts and organizations and multiple opportunities for input and public comment.
“NHTSA is very pleased to be partnering with NASEMSO and with EMS providers across the United States on this project,” said Drew Dawson, director of the NHTSA Office of EMS. “This is the next step in helping EMS, from ambulance services and other emergency medical services, to government agencies, and ultimately the communities and patients they serve.”
The project will bring together leading EMS, performance improvement, healthcare organizations, and state and local EMS agencies to develop the performance measures derived from the latest published literature and identified best practices. Each measure will be tested with actual data in real world situations to determine its feasibility, accuracy, and validity.
Measures will not only address clinical care, but also areas including call volume, human resources, feet management, finance, reimbursement, and patient experience.
“Reaching out to real-world EMS practitioners is an important goal of the initiative,” said Nick Nudell, the project manager who is a noted data expert as well as a paramedic. “They are the ones who initially collect data on their patients, and getting an electronic patient care report that is accurate and comprehensive is fundamental to the process.”
One aim of the project will be for each performance measure to comply with the format used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Joint Commission with the ultimate goal to receive endorsement from the National Quality Forum. Other invited participants include individuals affiliated with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement as well as research institutions.
“Performance measures have become an integral part of not only the quality improvement process, but also the reimbursement models throughout the healthcare system,” Gainor said. “It is essential that the EMS community come together to develop these measures which may soon be required by CMS and other payers.”
For more information, visit emscompass.org.