For most, the word “data” invokes feelings of drowsiness, boredom and possible flashbacks to a monotone voice droning on about stats and figures. Unfortunately, data is also really important for EMS—so how do you spice up a conversation about data?
For ESO, it’s relooked at as a much sexier term: Facts.
At its WAVE conference in Austin, the message is “fact informs.” Perhaps this is why Dragnet Detective Sargeant Joe Friday so famously requested, “Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.”
Through two days of sessions from ESO employees and ESO software users, the conference aims at showing delegates the future of healthcare connectivity. Keynote speakers Chris Dillie, ESO CEO, and Ed Racht, MD, chief medical officer of American Medical Response, emphasized that data can translate into action and change—fact informs. It’s EMS’ job as an industry to inform other seats at the healthcare table what it does, and the only way to do that is with facts.
In the session “EMS Benchmarks of the Future,” Tim McIntosh of Port Aransas (Texas) EMS stresses that we should assume nothing until it is measured. We should have trust, but should still verify everything by measuring. What we measure should be different according to location, laws, patient population, etc., but whatever an EMS chief asks their crews to do should be measured.
Michael Baker of the Tulsa Fire Department, in his session “Fighting Fire with (ESO) Fire,” detailed the tough transition of getting his fire department crews to accurately report patient data on the newly adopted ESO Fire electronic healthcare record software. His problem was getting firefighters to care about data when revenue isn’t tied to it. His solution: Don’t use a hammer to fix your problems. To avoid this, he suggested making it as easy as possible for crews to document correctly, finding an internal champion to be a subject matter expert, reminding crews that their initial training is just an introduction and supplemental training will be provided, and addressing the issues. The latter includes avoiding rushing to blame the software, always exploring possible user error, and communicating with everyone.
Finally, in his session “What happens when hospitals, ACOs and EMS collaborate?,” Charles Blankenship, CCEMT-P, BS, manager of Mission Health, discussed ways to streamline data collection across healthcare systems. He urged EMS organizations to communicate with hospitals about accountable care organization (ACO) measures and ways to sync electronic patient records with hospital data. He also suggested using data in a needs assessment to show hospitals why mobile integrated healthcare is needed and can help hospitals—that EMS can be the eyes and ears for the hospital in the patient’s home. He noted that fire departments don’t fight many fires because they learned prevention, and thus EMS should do the same. However, access to prevention data can only happen if collaborating with hospitals and ACOs.