Facilitating Innovative EMS Delivery Models

State offices play an important role in advocating for innovation in EMS and efforts are underway to help identify and address the regulatory, financial and technological challenges often met when striving for system improvements.

Although each community’s EMS system is different, similar challenges are often faced in the testing and implementing innovative projects to address current issues and strengthen the system.

Together with the Mount Sinai Health System and the University of California, San Diego Health System, NHTSA’s Office of EMS and its Federal partners will facilitate the development of a framework that will address common obstacles while allowing for the implementation and testing of innovation in EMS.

This project intends to identify challenges and align efforts for piloting and testing new and innovative changes to EMS on the state or local level. The two-year cooperative agreement --“Promoting Innovations in Emergency Medical Services” -- is jointly administered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of EMS, the Office of Health Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health & Human Services.

The project models won’t prescribe how and what states should test, but will provide a map for starting the process. It will also demonstrate how state offices and local EMS services can work together to further collaborate and foster relationships.

“The point of this project is to encourage testing of new and innovative programming, big or small, from coast to coast,” said Noah Smith, EMS Specialist at U.S. Department of Transportation. “The government at all levels, but particularly at the state level, is not simply enforcer of the rules, but also advocate and promoter of innovation and new ideas.”

A July 2013 white paper demonstrated an example of one innovation that could be tested. The goal described in this paper was to redirect non-emergent cases – which accounted for 15 percent of the total hospital call volume – to other facilities. This project demonstrated an increase in patient care and a significant decrease in healthcare expenses. You can read the full white paper here.

“One of our most important roles within the Federal government is to foster new innovations and encourage testing of new ideas at the local level,” said Smith. “Because this is best accomplished collaboratively with the state offices, the focus of this project will be fostering innovation and testing those innovations with the state EMS office.”

The Office of EMS will continue to work with its partners at the Office of Health Affairs and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response to coordinate this project. To learn more, visit the EMS Innovations web site.