This is my third installment on what really makes an EMS “High Performance.” The previous criteria included “Response Time” and “Effective Care” focusing on emergent situations, but now I want to turn to proactive outreach.
Part 3: Community Connected
When the modern idea of EMS began decades ago, the driving force related to fast response. It was simply about getting someone with some medical training to the scene of a trauma quickly. There was a wave of need and few other options at the time. Times, however, have changed the basic equation. As EMS continues to evolve we debate what our new role really needs to be. Are we primarily “public safety” as we have been or are we better viewed as an integral part of the “medical profession”? Your answer, unfortunately, may be predicated on the type of service in which you work. This isn’t part of the problem, but it is an impediment to the progress that must be made. If we were able to start all over again today by designing a new EMS system, would it resemble anything like what we have today? Of course, we don’t have that luxury. However, that sort of vision can help us steer a course through the inevitable transition that is already happening. The status quo is no longer sustainable. Between budget forces and expectations of service, our jobs will change. We can try to affect that change through the hierarchy of command, we can make a difference at the individual level through personal commitment, or we can enlist the community for the direction and support of the change THEY want.
If we examine expectations of the communities we serve through the requests they make to us, we should recognize a general shift from trauma related to motor vehicle accidents toward more purely medical “sick calls” in (more…)