EMS Lessons for 2018
The medical profession continues to evolve. Long ago, humans thought bloodletting with leeches cured the flu.
People didn’t know about germs or the importance of handwashing. It might be the 21st century, but we are still learning new and better ways to cure illnesses and heal injuries.
Emergency Medical Services also learned a few things in 2017 that should be applied as we go forward into 2018. We can be better EMS workers, which is better for our patients. What lessons can EMS take into 2018?
Mobile Integrated Health (MIH)
Point-of-care ultrasounds (POCUS) saw an increase in 2017. Mobile technologies like POCUS means that EMS can bring diagnostic tools to their patients, which is beneficial when the patient cannot be safely moved. It also means that EMS teams and doctors can reach patients who are unable to come to a hospital. Healthcare is no longer a specific place when it can come directly to the patients who need it most. As technology advances, EMS teams will be able to help more patients and diagnose more effectively. This can be great for rural communities where hospitals are too far away or difficult to reach.
EMS Safe Sleep Practices
Because EMS teams work long and stressful hours, they need to make sure to get enough sleep to stay sharp while on the job. Some hospitals are implementing Safe Sleep stations for EMS crews. Why? It provides a quiet place for the EMS team member to get much-needed rest. The room is darkened to allow natural sleep. EMS fatigue has contributed to ambulance crashes, so making sure that EMS members get their sleep is crucial to the success and safety of the team and their patients.
The Opioid Crisis
EMS was under fire last year as being one of the causes of the opioid epidemic from the use of opiates in pain relief. The conversation surrounding the opioid crisis needs to recognize that several factors have contributed to the rise of opiate addiction. Because of this, EMS teams have begun using naloxone, NSAIDS, and nitrous oxide for pain relief instead of opioids like morphine.
Partnerships with Lyft and Uber
For patients that are considered low-acuity, EMS have partnered with rideshare services like Uber and Lyft to get these patients to the hospital instead of having an ambulance come out. This reduces costs for the patients but also reduces stress on EMS teams. Patients that are not suffering from a life-threatening illness or injury have benefited from the partnerships.