Factors associated with emergency medical services scope of practice for acute cardiovascular events.
ABSTRACT To examine prehospital emergency medical services (EMS) scope of practice for acute cardiovascular events and characteristics that may affect scope of practice; and to describe variations in EMS scope of practice for these events and the characteristics associated with that variability.
In 2008, we conducted a telephone survey of 1,939 eligible EMS providers in nine states to measure EMS agency characteristics, medical director involvement, and 18 interventions authorized for prehospital care of acute cardiovascular events by three levels of emergency medical technician (EMT) personnel.
A total of 1,292 providers responded to the survey, for a response rate of 67%. EMS scope of practice interventions varied by EMT personnel level, with the proportion of authorized interventions increasing as expected from EMT-Basic to EMT-Paramedic. Seven of eight statistically significant associations indicated that EMS agencies in urban settings were less likely to authorize interventions (odds ratios <0.7) for any level of EMS personnel. Based on the subset of six statistically significant associations, fire department-based EMS agencies were two to three times more likely to authorize interventions for EMT-Intermediate personnel. Volunteer EMS agencies were more than twice as likely as nonvolunteer agencies to authorize interventions for EMT-Basic and EMT-Intermediate personnel but were less likely to authorize any one of the 11 interventions for EMT-Paramedics. Greater medical director involvement was associated with greater likelihood of authorization of seven of the 18 interventions for EMT-Basic and EMT-Paramedic personnel but had no association with EMT-Intermediate personnel.
We noted statistically significant variations in scope of practice by rural vs. urban setting, medical director involvement, and type of EMS service (fire department-based/non-fire department-based; volunteer/paid). These variations highlight local differences in the composition and capacity of EMS providers and offer important information for the transition towards the implementation of a national scope of practice model.
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ABSTRACT: Prehospital 12-lead electrocardiography (ECG) is critical to timely STEMI care although its use remains inconsistent. Previous studies to identify reasons for failure to obtain a prehospital ECG have generally only focused on individual emergency medical service (EMS) systems in urban areas. Our study objective was to identify patient, geographic, and EMS agency-related factors associated with failure to perform a prehospital ECG across a statewide geography. We analyzed data from the Prehospital Medical Information System (PreMIS) in North Carolina from January 2008 to November 2010 for patients >30 years of age who used EMS and had a prehospital chief complaint of chest pain. Among 3.1 million EMS encounters, 134 350 patients met study criteria. From 2008-2010, 82 311 (61%) persons with chest pain received a prehospital ECG; utilization increased from 55% in 2008 to 65% in 2010 (trend P<0.001). Utilization by health referral region ranged from 22.9% to 74.2% and was lowest in rural areas. Men were more likely than women to have an ECG performed (63.0% vs 61.3%, adjusted RR 1.02, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.04). The certification-level of the EMS provider (paramedic vsbasic/intermediate) and system-level ECG equipment availability were the strongest predictors of ECG utilization. Persons in an ambulance with a certified paramedic were significantly more likely to receive a prehospital ECG than nonparamedics (RR 2.15, 95% CI 1.55, 2.99). Across a large geographic area prehospital ECG use increased significantly, although important quality improvement opportunities remain. Increasing ECG availability and improving EMS certification and training levels are needed to improve overall care and reduce rural-urban treatment differences.Journal of the American Heart Association 07/2013; 2(4):e000289. DOI:10.1161/JAHA.113.000289 · 2.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Prior assessments of emergency medical services (EMS) stroke capacity found deficiencies in education and training, use of protocols and screening tools, and planning for the transport of patients. A 2001 survey of North Carolina EMS providers found many EMS systems lacked basic stroke services. Recent statewide efforts have sought to standardize and improve prehospital stroke care. The objective of this study was to assess EMS stroke care capacity in North Carolina and evaluate statewide changes since 2001. In June 2012, we conducted a web-based survey on stroke education and training and stroke care practices and policies among all EMS systems in North Carolina. We used the McNemar test to assess changes from 2001 to 2012. Of 100 EMS systems in North Carolina, 98 responded to our survey. Most systems reported providing stroke education and training (95%) to EMS personnel, using a validated stroke scale or screening tool (96%), and having a hospital prenotification policy (98%). Many were suboptimal in covering basic stroke educational topics (71%), always communicating stroke screen results to the destination hospital (46%), and always using a written destination plan (49%). Among 70 EMS systems for which we had data for 2001 and 2012, we observed significant improvements in education on stroke scales or screening tools (61% to 93%, P < .001) and use of validated stroke scales or screening tools (23% to 96%, P < .001). Major improvements in EMS stroke care, especially in prehospital stroke screening, have occurred in North Carolina in the past decade, whereas other practices and policies, including use of destination plans, remain in need of improvement.Preventing chronic disease 09/2013; 10:E149. DOI:10.5888/pcd10.130035 · 1.96 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Abstract Background. Little is known about clinically important events and advanced care treatment that patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) encounter in the prehospital setting. Objectives. We sought to determine the proportion of community patients with STEMI who experienced a clinically important event or received advanced care treatment prior to arrival at a designated percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) laboratory or emergency department (ED). Methods. We reviewed 487 consecutive community patients with STEMI between May 2008 and June 2009. All patients were geographically within a single large "third-service" urban emergency medical services (EMS) system and were transported by paramedics with an advanced care scope of practice. We recorded predefined clinically important events and advanced care treatment that occurred in patients being transported directly to a PCI laboratory or ED (group 1) or interfacility transfer to a PCI laboratory (group 2). Results. One or more clinically important events occurred in 92 of 342 (26.9%) group 1 patients and nine of 145 (6.2%) group 2 patients. The most common were sinus bradycardia, hypotension, and cardiac arrest. Additionally, 33 of 342 (9.6%) group 1 and nine of 145 (6.2%) group 2 patients received one or more advanced care treatments. The most common were administration of morphine and administration of atropine. Eight group 1 patients and three group 2 patients received cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or defibrillation. Conclusions. Clinically important events and advanced care treatment are common in community STEMI patients undergoing prehospital transport or interfacility transfer to a PCI center. Several patients required CPR or defibrillation. Further research is needed to define the clinical experience of STEMI patients during the out-of-hospital phase and the scope of practice required of EMS providers to safely manage these patients. Key words: myocardial infarction; complications; emergency medical services; emergency treatment.Prehospital Emergency Care 01/2013; 17(2). DOI:10.3109/10903127.2012.744783 · 1.81 Impact Factor