Promoting Innovation in EMS

responded bears only superficial relation to his/ her competency. How then should EMS educators determine when a new candidate is competent to operate independently? How should all personnel be assessed for their ability to manage infrequent events and rarely performed skills? LACK OF CLINICAL FEEDBACK Once in the workforce, a major structural deficiency of the EMS educational process over the past fifty years has been the lack of clinical feedback from hospitals to EMS personnel. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has often been incorrectly cited as justification for not informing EMS providers of their patients’ outcomes, which limits their ability to learn from their experiences. STRATEGIES RAISING THE BAR ON EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS It is not difficult to envision how EMS could benefit from advanced education of EMS professionals in information technology, data management, public health, chronic disease management, business, leadership and research. While some have called for additional research on the exact effects of higher education standards, from the innovation perspective, raising the bar is imperative to fostering a culture that promotes EMS quality and spurs EMS innovation. If state or local EMS leaders are committed to raising the educational bar for EMS, they should take steps to support or encourage a gradual transition over a decade toward a new standard of degree-based education for paramedics. This might include reviewing entry requirements,

educational standards, and performing workforce needs assessments. A baseline of formal degree- based education for paramedics could open up new opportunities for leadership and academic careers following further postgraduate education. It would also increase the likelihood of paramedics becoming the drivers of innovation and research affecting the paramedic profession and the patients that paramedics treat. Higher educational requirements may also help EMS providers break down silos and collaborate more effectively with other disciplines. Such a transition could be disruptive to the current educational model. Local and state EMS leaders should survey existing EMS training centers for supplementary methods of raising standards and harness their experience and resources in developing degree-based programs. Local leaders could also look to groups like the National Association of EMS Educators (NAEMSE) or to the Bureau of Health Professions at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to develop strategies to navigate the complexities of this transition. They could also look to communities with existing degree programs. The National Association of EMTs (NAEMT) currently lists 20 EMS baccalaureate- degree programs. 79 The Oregon Tech - Oregon Health Sciences University Paramedic Education Program 80 offers a bachelor’s degree in EMS Management with courses in critical care and community care paramedicine. In 2014, the California legislature established (through the Community College Professional Development Program, AB 2558) 81 a pilot 4-year baccalaureate program in EMS that will be offered at a community college. Additional work with the Committee on the

79 “Degree Programs in EMS.” National Association of EMTs . Accessed June 28, 2017. 80 “Paramedic Education Program.” Oregon Tech . Accessed June 28, 2017. 81 “An act to amend Sections 87150 and 87151 of, and to repeal and add Section 87152 of, the Education Code, relating to community colleges.” Assembly Bill No. 2558 . Last modified September 19, 2014.




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