Progress Continues on Education Standards, Evidence-Based Guidelines

EMS Education Standards

As NHTSA celebrates 50 years of supporting state and local emergency medical services, the Office of EMS is proud to join with its partners in the Federal government and national stakeholder organizations to continue to advance the profession. Here are updates on just a few of the projects currently underway.

Opportunity to Provide Input on New EMS Education Standards

Since 2009, the National EMS Education Standards have helped make sure that EMS clinicians receive an education that prepares them for the important roles they play in communities across the country. Following the release of a new National EMS Scope of Practice Model last year, the standards are undergoing a revision to align them with that scope, as well as the latest evidence and best practices. NHTSA has partnered with the National Association of EMS Educators to lead the effort, and NAEMSE has brought together a diverse team of experts.

After a pause to allow members of the Development Team and the entire EMS community to focus on the response to the pandemic, the revision of the National EMS Education Standards is back on track. The team has been hard at work making adjustments to the next draft, which is expected to be released for public comment in November. This will be the third and final public comment period before the standards are released next year.

Make sure you are signed up to receive news and announcements from the Office of EMS on this public comment period and other opportunities to contribute to the advancement of EMS by clicking here.

Airway Management and Pain Management Evidence-Based Guideline Efforts Underway

In 2019, the University of Connecticut, with funding support from NHTSA and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, published a systematic review of available research on prehospital pharmacologic management of acute pain. Based on that research, NHTSA is supporting the development of an evidence-based guideline led by the National Association of State EMS Officials, as well as related education and implementation guidance for EMS agencies. A technical expert panel headed up by Virginia State EMS and Trauma Systems Medical Director George Lindbeck, MD, has been named to oversee the effort.

NHTSA is also supporting the first step in the development of an evidence-based guideline for prehospital airway management comparing endotracheal intubation with other interventions through an interagency agreement with the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality. This systematic review of the literature is being conducted by the Evidence Based Practice Center at Oregon Health and Science University. This project is the direct result of public feedback to a federal request for information. A draft of the systematic review is expected to be released later this year.

Field Trauma Triage Guidelines Update Continues

The Office of EMS has entered into a cooperative agreement with the American College of Surgeons to lead the revision of the Field Trauma Triage Guidelines. These evidence-based guidelines help EMS systems ensure the right patients get to the right trauma center after motor vehicle crashes and other traumatic incidents. The ACS first developed its Field Triage Decision Scheme in 1986 and has periodically updated it over the past three decades, often with support from NHTSA.

In the spring of 2020, the ACS appointed a 29-member technical expert panel to lead the revision of the guidelines, based on a scientific literature review currently being conducted by Oregon Health and Science University. In addition to this evidence-based review, the panel will incorporate input from the public that will be collected using a stakeholder feedback tool developed by a workgroup of the ACS Committee on Trauma EMS Committee. This tool, which will be released this fall, will aim to capture the perspective from those in the field. Stay tuned for an opportunity to provide input on the current guidelines.