Emergency Medical Services Community

Emerging Challenges

The procurement and deployment of new emergency medical services (EMS) technologies is inconsistent among EMS providers, even within the same geographical area. Interoperability of public safety communications systems as well as emerging medical and health information exchange technologies will require carefully crafted transition and cutover strategies. Refinement of partnerships among first responders and between public and private agencies is a continuing challenge in many areas of the U.S.

Within the first responder community, EMS providers represent the first line of on-scene medical care to individuals in life-threatening situations. Within the transportation operations and public safety services environment, the EMS community provides trauma care to injured travelers, and determines the most appropriate mode of transportation to the closest appropriate hospital, which should include a trauma center when the patient meets severity criteria. Recruiting and retaining emergency medical services personnel is a persistent EMS community issue. Clearly, this recruitment and retention problem has different dimensions in rural regions and in difficult to access communities.

The EMS community pursues a national goal of creating a seamless nationwide network of coordinated and accountable state, regional, and local emergency medical services and trauma care systems. The systems apply public health principles, data, and evidence as a basis for safe and effective care in day-to-day operations, as well as during catastrophic events. Within this national goal, TSAG supports the advancement of specific EMS target programs, including:

  • Advanced technologies for EMS in transportation operations and incident management
  • Reduction of risk of collisions involving an ambulance
  • Advancing technology-driven ambulance design and patient restraint systems
  • Development of coordinated EMS systems across the nation
  • Exchange of information about EMS issues and concerns
  • Cooperation between agencies in areas of emergency communications and Next Generation 9-1-1
  • Strengthened partnerships with and among state regulatory agencies and federal partners, professional organizations, and other appropriate public and private entities

Within its fundamental responsibility of delivering treatment and transportation to those in need of urgent medical care, EMS professionals should be supported through advanced communication technologies and advanced medical telematics applications.

Emergency Medical Service

Emerging Opportunities

Advanced transportation technologies and ITS applications benefit both the public and the EMS community through prevention of life-threatening incidents, followed by improved communications and the exchange of information relevant to incident scenes and seriously injured victims.

Proven and emerging transportation technologies will enhance transportation operations in multiple ways. Most significantly advanced technologies will promote and facilitate:

  • System interoperability
  • System interfacing
  • System coordination

ITS applications and advanced transportation technologies incorporated into transportation operations services call for a corresponding increase in systems’ interoperability and information interfaces. Both are essential to effective and efficient emergency medical services in order to reduce death and disability from transportation related incidents.

Continuing research thus becomes integral to ensuring the delivery of the highest quality care within the prehospital setting. The EMS community will participate in such research, and in the evaluation of outcomes and recommendations.