Promoting Innovation in EMS

quality patient care and inspires creativity and leadership in new entrants into the workforce, would be invaluable to each agency and to the industry as a whole for the purpose of driving innovation. To accomplish this, EMS educational institutions ought to require degrees for instructors and strive to support EMS instructor development through rigorous hiring, quality improvement, formal education, experience, and mentorship. Formal internships and fellowships in EMS education should also be developed. Meanwhile, agencies should include teaching and mentorship in performance reviews and enhance salaries for exceptional educators. Finally, state and national EMS leaders should make a concerted effort to increase the pool of instructors that have advanced education degrees through incentive programs, scholarships and expansion of career opportunities. State and national average pass rates should be utilized to benchmark instructional performance and guide allocation of resources to programs with the greatest need. Simultaneously, well performing programs should be incentivized to identify and disseminate best practices and support the development of new innovative educational methods. ENHANCING EDUCATIONAL METHODS Students should leave formal EMS education with critical thinking skills, exposure to other health care roles, deeper knowledge about their role in the health care system, and have the ability to research new questions and learn independently. If that is accomplished, EMS providers would be more likely to be viewed as colleagues by other health care professionals.

optimizing instructional models that encourage competency-based education and allow students to advance based upon their ability to master cognitive, affective, and psychomotor goals. Competencies might be both developed and more accurately measured with more frequent and more effective use of problem-based learning, simulation-based training or incorporating new technologies such as virtual reality. Recognizing that EMS operates in an interdisciplinary environment, its educational models should incorporate integrated team-based experiences with other health care, public health, and public safety disciplines into both initial and ongoing training. Doing so would enable providers of all levels and disciplines to gain familiarity with each other’s capabilities and workflows and foster better interdisciplinary collaboration and likely foster new innovation. To the extent possible, EMS education and practice needs to be based upon scientific evidence. Although in some parts of the curriculum, there may be insufficient literature to implement this fully, a thorough effort to find evidence and frequent updates must be performed. Improving the evidence base for EMS practice would be made easier if formal education practitioners, educators, managers, and medical directors included exposure to basic principles of research, data collection and informatics. Similarly, giving providers early exposure to rapidly evolving fields of EMS such as population health and behavioral health might accelerate innovation in those areas. Providers in remote areas or those seeking higher education would benefit from greater use of technology to facilitate distance learning. As a component of its 2-year Community Paramedicine Pilot Project, California EMSA developed a 200-hour curriculum for participating pilot sites 82 using a

To get there, the educational methods employed need to be revisited. EMS would benefit from

82 Baxter Larmon. “State of California Community Paramedic CORE Education Program.” Emergency Medical Services Authority. Last modified May 28, 2015.




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