Addressing Public Health Issues with EMS Data

Along with its partners throughout the Federal government, NHTSA is committed to supporting local, state, Tribal and national efforts to use EMS data to improve population health.

Background

The information collected by EMS caregivers in patient care reports can be extremely valuable to public health officials, policymakers, health care providers and anyone else looking to tackle a public health problem. EMS data offer several advantages. Thanks to NEMSIS, the National EMS Information System, most EMS patient care data are collected using a national standard, making it easy to aggregate and analyze at any level. EMS patient care data also include information on the location of emergencies—something not available in most other health care data.

What’s Happening Now

NHTSA supports the use of EMS data in public health activities by educating and partnering with researchers and public health officials. Some examples include:

Trauma care and traffic crash injuries
NHTSA created the National EMS Dashboard, a visually interactive presentation of traffic crash data from the National EMS Database, making it easier for traffic safety professionals to access and use. The National EMS Dashboard offers valuable insights from the perspectives of health care providers – information such as the condition of crash victims, pre-hospital care, EMS transportation decisions, and transportation disposition immediately following crashes.

Opioid overdoses
Communities across the U.S. are using EMS data to help understand and address the opioid overdose crisis. NHTSA has worked with local and State partners to educate colleagues around the country about how EMS data can be used to identify trends, assist with law enforcement activities, allocate resources and more.

Who’s Involved

NHTSA’s Office of EMS (OEMS) works with NEMSIS and the Technical Assistance Center to maintain and keep current the National EMS Dashboard to provide data on trauma care and traffic crash injuries. The OEMS has also collaborated closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to use the database to shed light on the opioid problem at the national level.

What You Can Do

  • Become familiar with the data in the National EMS Dashboard and incorporate it into research or decision-making at the local, state, regional and national levels.
  • Read Multiple Naloxone Administrations Among Emergency Medical Service Providers is Increasing, a detailed report led by NHTSA, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that used EMS data to track multiple naloxone administrations and opportunities for improved response and treatment.
  • Learn more about how the Office of EMS is supporting data use in systems nationwide.