The “Promoting Innovations in Emergency Medical Services” Project is being administered by the Mount Sinai Health System in collaboration with the University of California, San Diego Health System. It is funded and supported by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Office of Health Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health & Human Services.
This project is answering the call from a variety of stakeholders for the federal government to support the implementation and dissemination of innovative Emergency Medical Services (EMS) delivery models. Regulatory, financial, technological, and other barriers have posed challenges to innovation in EMS. The project calls for broad stakeholder involvement over the next 2 years to develop a national framework document providing guidance to overcome commonly faced barriers to innovation at the local or state level, and foster the development of new innovative models of healthcare delivery within EMS.
The Co-Project Directors of this award are Dr. Kevin Munjal, of Mount Sinai Health System in New York, and Dr. James Dunford, of University of California, San Diego Health System. According to Dr. Munjal the award will “engage a diverse group of stakeholders in creating a pathway toward the widespread implementation of best practices and delivery system reforms in EMS across the nation.”
EMS leaders have long recognized that EMS could serve as a vital link in a coordinated healthcare system focused on population health management. EMS could help identify and modify risk, assess and facilitate treatment of chronic conditions, and improve coordination of care for acute complaints. The rapidly evolving healthcare landscape provides an opportunity to capitalize on this potential. Novel urban and rural EMS programs have begun filling gaps in systems of care and terms such as ‘community paramedicine’ and ‘mobile integrated healthcare’ are being used to describe how the full clinical, operational, and financial capacity of EMS could be harnessed. Dr. Dunford described this moment in healthcare history as, “a fantastic opportunity for EMS to merge imagination, sound medicine and health information technology to improve care and lower cost.” Tomorrow’s innovations will likely improve domestic preparedness, increase patient access to care, decrease healthcare costs, and improve community resilience.
As EMS agencies strive to innovate within the current infrastructure, they face challenges from existing laws, regulations and even mind-sets. The project team is aware of the delicate balance between enabling innovation while still protecting public health and safety through regulatory oversight and maintaining a statewide systems approach to the provision of emergency medical care. State Offices of EMS play a vital role in fostering innovation and will be vital stakeholders in this project which seeks to develop model legal, regulatory, and financial frameworks to assist and encourage state and local health systems to test new EMS delivery models.
Key aspects of the project include:
• Collection of input from key EMS and community healthcare stakeholders from around the country via surveys and interviews.
• Regional stakeholder meetings will be held in San Diego and New York in May of 2015, with a focus on incorporating national input into overcoming local barriers to EMS innovation.
• A national steering committee meeting will be convened in Washington, D.C. on September 21st, 2015.
• An iterative approach to drafting materials and soliciting feedback through in person, telephonic, and online encounters with stakeholder groups.
• The creation of a National Framework Document that will be a broadly representative, thoroughly vetted tool that will offer a useful pathway to harness the full potential of EMS.