Also posted at Chronicles of EMS

ems2point0pinMark and I are in Denver at the Zoll Summit, but wanted to give you a little better idea about what this conference is all about.

There are a number of different learning tracks in administrative, clinical and data fields, all with dynamite speakers bringing up topics that we need addressed in modern EMS.  Many of the presentations mentioned Zoll products, that makes sense, but the way it was presented was great for us field guys to understand.

Mark and I had the opportunity to present the merits of the EMS 2.0 concept and some of the basics behind where we got the term, what it could mean and how to go about getting us there.  But even before we did that I had an educational table top discussion with fellow EMS enthusiasts Chris Montera and Steve Whitehead.  In this discussion the merits of 2.0 were challenged, the ability of firefighters to be paramedics and surgeons to be mechanics, but also the nuts and bolts of an exciting emerging concept of community paramedicine.

This concept, in every example I have been able to find, fits very nicely into MY 2.0 vision.

I’ll explain a bit more why I said MY and not THE in a moment.

The evening with Jamie Davis, Mark Glencorse, Chris Montera and Steve Whitehead, not to mention Charlotte from Zoll, ended on a more than positive note giving Mark and I fuel and insight into the ever evolving concept of EMS 2.0.

When we presented to a 3/4 full room in the clinical track, with only 2 or 3 people in the room even having a slight idea who we were or what we were to speak about, began nodding in the affirmative when I touched on the main points of EMS 2.0.

Thought I’d share.

  • Trust Clinical Judgment

For a system to operate efficiently and in the patient’s best interest we need to be trusting well educated and highly trained paramedics to make the right decisions in the field.  We have even recently seen that without a strong education paramedics make life ending mistakes.  Education is a big part of the future of EMS.

  • Alternate Transport Destinations

Does everyone need an Emergency Room? No. Then why do we take everyone there?  Still can’t get an answer from anyone on that one that doesn’t include more that ‘We’ve just always done it that way.”  Urgent Care, MD Office, Home etc.  This destination can be based on clinical impression, destination matrix and, of course, trusting our people to do the right thing.

  • Alternate Transport Methods

Break away from the outdated concept that people that goto the hospital need to be reclined on a bed in a 2 person ambulance.  BLS or ALS you are wasting a resource, an expensive one, on someone who does not need it.  Liability, as I’ve covered previously, does not enter the equation when the patient’s presentation is appropriate to be taken in by car.  A van to pick up the folks who mistakenly call for a colonoscopy is far less expensive than the ambulance twice a month.

  • Refusal of Transport

Not everyone needs to even go in to the hospital, but a mistaken definition and impression of liability hass clouded our ability to do what is right, not what they want.  Sometimes it is appropriate to leave someone at home, on the street, or at the store, who has no medical component to their chief complaint, but activated 911 because they know we’ll take them in.  Capture an accurate assessment, create a clinical decision and act on it.

But how can you enact the above concepts?  It will take time and it will be expensive…at first.  But if you realize you can cut your costs by putting Paramedics into a single unit resource instead of a dual, you cut your costs by half.  Transport to the urgent care and you don’t have to rely on the $600 payout on the $1500 transport, but the $130 payout on the $50 transport.

Three main concepts must be adopted in order for the concept to come together, I’ll cover those in a few days.  But when I presented these concepts here in Denver to the folks who make the kind of changes I’m hoping for, they nodded in agreement and sought us out afterwards to ask about specifics.  Something is happening here, there is a buzz around this crazy notion that improving EMS might just work this time around since the ground folks seem to have a voice in the discussion.

Our voice will only get louder.  But please keep in mind, Mark and I still have full time jobs and families and are still flying around the country (Mark the world) telling anyone who will listen about our desires to learn more and share what we learn with you all in real time.  But this sharing takes time to filter into the pre-conceived notions about social media and it’s power to unite a community.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was the system we have today, it will take time to gather enough evidence to support these concepts and traveling to systems that have enacted portions of it is the only way I see that happening.

Stay safe,


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