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2018 EMS10 Winner Profile: Joshua Ishmael

Joshua Ishmael, MBA, MLS (ASCP)CM, NRP, is a servant leader in every aspect of his work in healthcare and EMS. With more than a decade of experience serving as an EMS educator, director and paramedic, Ishmael brings a personal passion and data-driven mindset to activate regional efforts to enhance and improve prehospital patient care throughout Northern Kentucky.

Ishmael plays a large role in standing-up regional programs that are influencing data-driven change to improve patient outcomes at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, a leading healthcare system in the Greater Cincinnati region with five hospitals throughout Northern Kentucky. Ishmael’s goal is to foster a seamless and transparent relationship between the region’s 35 EMS agencies and staff of the hospital who, together, manage 35,000 EMS patient cases annually.

Understanding the power of technology and its ability to connect care teams and bring efficiency to their workflows, Ishmael initiated the implementation of a health data exchange platform to produce measurable data, facilitate an easier documentation process, and decrease on-the-job staff fatigue with manually tracking documents.

Prior to using the data exchange platform, the hospital electronic patient care reporting (ePCR) capture rate hovered just below 70%. In 2018, St. Elizabeth showed a measurable improvement with a reported ePCR capture of 98%. Continuing the initiative to improve the relationship with the region’s agencies, Ishmael took the lead employing a technology platform that streamlined the communication channel between EMS and hospital teams with time-sensitive patient emergencies.

After implementation, there was a 17% reduction in the first medical-contact-to-balloon time for STEMI cases, with 69% of patient cases meeting the American Heart Association standard of 90 minutes. Ishmael’s analysis of this data and the findings were accepted at the 2018 Institute for Healthcare Improvement conference where he was featured as a poster presentation.

Ishmael’s efforts to improve the health of people in his community aren’t limited to those with an emergent condition. He organizes many community outreach efforts including CPR and AED training and educating on elderly fall prevention. As an executive board member for the Kentucky Firefighters Peer Support Team, Ishmael works to ensure his fellow first responders have the support they need as it relates to their own mental health. He also uses his role as an EMS educator to share his passion for improving patient care with his students and instill the importance EMS has in making an impact in a complicated healthcare environment.

“We must carry each other forward; it’s not as much about ideas as it is about people,” Ishmael says. “All it takes is a willingness to dare and be bold.”

Additionally, Ishmael has learned the job of strengthening healthcare processes doesn’t end at the prehospital level. In 2018, he took his efforts to the political arena and ran for coroner for Kenton County, the third largest county in Kentucky, with a campaign built on the goal of modernizing the county’s approach to patient case management focusing on data mining and public health surveillance processes.

Ishmael recently completed his MBA and plans to continue his efforts to improve patient care in and outside of St. Elizabeth and the Northern Kentucky EMS community, adding an important business perspective to his clinical expertise and personal passion.