Documentation & Patient Care Reporting, Operations

EMS Compass: The Quality Imperative

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and its Office of EMS have supported EMS system improvements for over 45 years and we’re proud to partner with the National Association of State EMS Officials on the EMS Compass initiative.

The work described in this supplement is the culmination of over a decade of efforts to standardize EMS data collection efforts across the nation. With nearly every EMS practitioner collecting the same data on every patient, every day, we have incredible opportunities to harness the power of that information to advance patient care. NHTSA and our state partners didn’t develop the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS) to simply populate a database, but instead to allow local agencies to use their own data meaningfully to track progress and improve. EMS Compass fulfills that goal by developing a system to create important measures based on NEMSIS Version 3 data elements-something every agency will be able to deploy.

The federal government is strongly committed to this work; the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS (FICEMS) is a group of 10 agencies across government that supports EMS activities. The very first objective of our five-year strategic plan is to develop data-driven performance measures for state and local EMS systems.

Ultimately, EMS Compass reflects the missions of NHTSA and of EMS agencies across the country: to save lives. We need to benchmark and measure our successes and challenges to understand what works and what doesn’t, to know where to invest and evolve, and to recognize how to best serve our patients.

I hope you read these articles carefully and are as excited as I am to usher in a new generation of data-driven performance improvement in EMS.

Thank you for your tireless efforts to support the sick and injured in our country every day.

EMS Compass: The Quality Imperative