IAEMSC Conference to Feature Injury Database

Participants of the IAEMSC leadership summit come from all over the U.S. (as well as from other countries) and represent a variety of EMS agencies, which makes the conference a terrific opportunity to learn from others and share experiences. “The summit is an excellent opportunity to network with other EMS leaders from a variety of system configurations, including large, metro-size departments, fire-based EMS agencies, municipal third-service EMS departments, private providers and representatives from the international EMS community “¦ The agenda is designed to promote interaction between the attendees and permit expanded opportunities for participants to have personal contact with the speakers,” says IAEMSC president Lawrence E. Tan, JD, NREMT-P.(1)

The leadership summit will be held from Oct. 22-25 in Washington, D.C., at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. (Remember to sign up before Oct. 7th to get discounted rates at the hotel; click here for registration info.)
The summit is designed for middle and senior leaders in EMS organizations. According to Tan, “The summit is a smaller, more focused meeting that facilitates participants discussing and collaborating on mutual concerns and issues, while sharing solutions and experiences across political boundaries.”(1)

The IAEMSC has put a lot of effort into creating a conference that addresses some of the most important developments and challenges facing EMS leaders today. Some topics to be covered include:

“¢ Recent health-care reform legislation and how it will likely affect EMS agencies;

“¢ The “Field EMS Bill” that is currently being drafted for Congress (featuring a roundtable discussion with delegates  from the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, Advocates for EMS, National Association of State EMS Officials and National Association of EMS Physicians);

“¢ Graduate opportunities available to EMS leaders;

“¢ Updates on a national EMS injury database (see below). View the full schedule.

Toward a National EMS Injury Database
A system that will track injuries and deaths to EMS providers while on the job will officially be launched at the summit. JEMS Editorial Board member Geoffrey Miller, EMT-P, recently spearheaded the national project. Having such an online database would allow researchers to compile statistics on provider injuries and their causes, which may help EMS advocates lobby for new legislation and improved technology to minimize preventable accidents and, ultimately, make the workplace safer for providers.

Unlike other public services, EMS currently lacks the ability to track nationwide trends occurring among its providers, especially with regard to injuries. “If you’re a fire department, you can track the types of injuries your employees are sustaining and some of the contributing causes and factors that tie into it. EMS doesn’t have that,” says Miller, a recent EMS 10: Innovators in EMS winner.(2)

The problem with having no data is that EMS researchers and advocates must first have an accurate picture of what types of injuries are occurring before they can successfully advocate for a solution. “You see stories about ambulance accidents or paramedics assaulted,” he says. “These stories are not collected in any type of main repository that allows us to pull out any meaningful information to turn around to the state and federal governments and say, “˜We have a problem and we need to fix this.'”(2)

In order to tackle this problem, Miller approached the IAEMSC board, which fully supported his idea. Intermedix, one of IAEMSC’s partners, volunteered to build the foundation for the database and provide technical support. Miller envisions the database being modeled after similar databases used by law enforcement and fire services, and he stresses that it will be free for any agency that wishes to participate. Since EMS agencies often have to deal with a lot of paperwork, one of Miller’s goals is to make the data collection process as simple and as easy to use as possible. “We’re not trying to duplicate the amount of paperwork,” he says. “We’re trying to augment what [EMS agencies] already have.”(2)

In fact, not only will agencies be helping out nationwide advocacy efforts when they use the system, but the database will also allow individual agencies to generate specific reports about injuries or accidents that can be attached to their own human resources files. In short, everyone wins, he says. Miller notes that the ultimate goal of the database is to make EMS providers safer when they perform their jobs. “If we are to look after the well-being of the men and women who are providing EMS, regardless of the service delivery model, we need a system to track the causes of these injuries, the human factors that may lead to them and the deaths that are associated with some of them,” he says. “EMS is a very precious resource and we can’t afford to lose providers to things that we can prevent. We need to start carrying a bigger voice for ourselves, and we won’t be able to do that until we actually have some data that we can turn use to show the trends and activities that are occurring.”(2)

The IAEMSC Summit will be a terrific opportunity to hear about Miller’s progress, as well as other advances and opportunities that affect EMS leaders. The conference will be held from Oct. 22-25, and discounted rates for the hotel are available until Oct. 7.
Visit the IAEMSC website for more information.   

Related Links
Preventive Measures — The original article on Miller’s database that appeared in a JEMS supplement detailing the top 10 innovators in EMS for 2009.

The International Association of Emergency Medical Service Chiefs — Check out their Website for information about the organization and the upcoming Leadership summit in Washington, D.C.

1. Lawrence T. Personal Interview. 30 Sept. 2010.
2. Kincaid C. “Preventive Measures: Geoffrey Miller spearheaded the creation
of a national database to record job-related illnesses and deaths.” JEMS (April): s12-s13; 2010.

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