EMS is at a crossroads. Yeah, yeah, how many times have you heard that before? If you’ve been in EMS for awhile, probably more than once. So I’m not going to say it. Instead I will just say, “Buckle up,” because the delivery of healthcare is changing and EMS (if that’s what we will continue to be called) can play a critical and expanding role if we are willing to engage in the process.
Healthcare delivery has to evolve in order to accommodate a shrinking physician workforce and the increasing healthcare needs of an aging population.
Since the 1970s we have seen the advent of advanced practice nurses and physician assistants come to the forefront of medical practice to help provide care for increasing patient numbers. So why not add advanced practice paramedics and primary care technicians to the medical continuum and save time, money and our jobs in the process?
This and many more questions will be explored in a dialogue taking place starting this month in print, online and in September at EMS World Expo, called EMS 2020. The reason we chose the year 2020 is because the average amount of time it takes a bill to become a law is 7 years. That means we have to not only anticipate the mobile healthcare needs of the population in 2020, but we have to craft a plan to meet those needs this year.
Join in the conversation at EMSWorld.com/2020 because much of the effort has to take place at the state and local level, so don’t wait for someone else to take the lead in your region. We need all hands on deck.
And for fun, give some thought about what our new acronym should be. I was thinking Out-of-Hospital Medical Experts, or “OH ME”!