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The performance measurement program is an initiative to improve the EMS systems. The program will be developed based on its relevance of EMS to the community, the capability of EMS system to evaluate data and submit reports, and the availability of evidence that will support the program. Furthermore, the performance program will be designed to support the EMS systems in the quality of services delivered.
The Usefulness of a Performance Measurement (PM) Program for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in the United States
Performance measurement is a crucial initiative that is significant in assisting the emergency medical services in protecting the health and safety of the Americans. It is an eye-opener for medical organizations to enhance their current measurement criteria by establishing common measures on a national level (EMS1 Staff, 2015). Secondly, as a national initiative, a PM can lead to increased funding to ensure that medical services will be provided in a manner that will improve patient outcomes (Epstein, Coates, Wray, & Swain, 2006). Fundamentally, the heath care payers have expectations that the delivery of health care will be of quality that equals to their payments. In this case, a PM is necessary to determine the effectiveness of any EMS system. In other words, a PM is an important tool that will support the EMS system to improve the quality of the services delivered to the patients (EMS1 Staff, 2015). A PM program will assist the EMS providers with reporting, research, and reimbursement issues in the future (Epstein et al, 2006).
Types of EMS Providers
In most cases Government Ambulance Services are part of national health system. These are ambulances that are funded by the government at local, provincial, or national level (Epstein et al, 2006). Secondly, Volunteer Ambulance Services are ambulances provided by charity organizations or non-profit making companies to assist in transportation of patients during emergency cases (Culyer, 2014). In some cases, there are charitable organizations that focus in providing emergency medical services to a community or during private events. For instance, there are instances when the Red Cross provides emergency services voluntarily (Culyer, 2014).
Private Ambulance Services are privately-owned companies that provide non-urgent ambulance care (Epstein et al, 2006). However, they can be given a contract to provide emergency care or serve as back-up response when all of the full-time emergency ambulances are not available (Culyer, 2014). On the other hand, Combined Emergency Services are fully serviced agencies that are found in places such as airports and universities. The personnel are trained in EMS care, firefighting and some police functions (Epstein et al, 2006).
Fire or Police Linked Services are ambulances that are operated by the local fire departments or police services (Culyer, 2014). It is cost-effective in rural areas. Secondly, these services that are operated by the fire departments have a firefighting protective gear and basic response tools to enable the crew members to respond to fires and other non-medical emergencies (Culyer, 2014).
Company Ambulance Services are ambulance services that are provided by employers to protect the welfare of their employees. They are usually found in large factories and industries such as oil refineries and breweries (Epstein et al, 2006). Additionally, Hospital Based Services are services that are found in hospitals that have their own ambulance services. They are useful in areas where ambulance care is not reliable.
Things to be Measured by an EMS PM
An EMS PM should measure the quality of health care delivered to patients. The care delivered should be measured to determine whether it is standard, reliable, and patient-centered (Epstein et al, 2006). It should also measure the significance of EMS to the community and the reliability and accuracy of reports submitted by the EMS systems. Apart from that, it should measure the figures on the amount of input and output to assess the indicators of efficiency and productivity (Culyer, 2014). An EMS PM program should also measure the relevance of the amounts budgeted by EMS systems and the relationship with the outcomes of the work done by emergency service providers (EMS1 Staff, 2015).
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Examples of Outputs and Outcome to be Measured in an EMS PM Program
The outputs refer to the products and services delivered, therefore, an EMS PM program should measure the quality, cost, and effectiveness of all services that are rendered to the patients (EMS1 Staff, 2015). For example, an EMS PM program should assess whether the rate at which the patients are paying premiums for insurance covers, are matching the quality of care they are receiving (Culyer, 2014). Secondly, this program should also measure the number of patients that are assigned to a single nurse, that is, the nurse-patient ratio (Epstein et al, 2006). This measure will help in determining whether the delivery of care is effective or it is hindered by the shortage of nurses. Thirdly, an EMS PM program should measure the level of patient-nurse relationship as a way to enhance patient outcomes (Culyer, 2014).
On the other hand, outcomes that can be measured by an EMS PM program include the response time, the frequency of emergency occurrences, and the quality of service delivered (EMS1 Staff, 2015). Secondly, this program can measure the productivity of EMS in specific areas because some areas require the provision of emergency services more than others. For instance, communities that live near large factories and industries are more exposed to occurrences that require emergency services (Epstein et al, 2006). These include events such as fire breakouts and spillage of hazardous chemicals.
Getting Support from the EMT’s who would be Measured
It is important that the support from the EMT’s to be measured. Therefore, it involves bringing together the EMS partners to take active roles in determining specific measures that will promote the delivery of high-quality patient care (EMS1 Staff, 2015). As a result, it will be easier to create opportunities that will increase funding towards the EMS systems to enhance its role in protecting the safety of the public.