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Jay Fitch at Pinnacle: 'Rock the Boat'

Jay Fitch, PhD, founding partner of Fitch & Associates, outlined six major challenges that will transform EMS delivery in the coming years during is general session “Rock the Boat” Thursday morning July 25, 2019 at the Pinnacle EMS conference in Orlando.

Coining them "tsunamis" that will rock the EMS boat, Fitch's challenges were:

  • Demographic shifts
  • Disruptive and innovative technology
  • Provider paradigms
  • Treatment/approach/focus—treatment vs. wellness
  • Payer coverage
  • Leadership

Fitch also asked his audience for additional ways the EMS profession has “missed the boat." Reactions included:

  • Nomenclature
  • Missing a cohesive EMS "voice"
  • Systems and protocols designed for our convenience (not our patients’)
  • Valuing complacency over innovation

Challenging his audience to “rock the boat” and be disruptors in the face of these developments, Fitch acknowledged that the culture of EMS often stifles innovative thinking.

“When comfort becomes complacency, it’s a problem,” he said. “The move to the future isn’t going to be easy for us because we’re tradition-bound.” Fitch & Associates consults with fire departments, EMS agencies, dispatch centers, air medical services and other providers to improve the quality of their operations.

Drawing examples from the automobile manufacturing industry, including Ford and Toyota, Fitch outlined the importance of an unsatisfied, disruptive mindset. “Your strategies and thinking need to be rewired,” he said.

Create and capture new demand centers where there aren't any now, Fitch advised. Telehealth, the wellness movement, and fast-moving technological developments such as wearable devices will mean that EMS in the coming years won’t look the same as it does now. Other disruptors of today and tomorrow that present opportunities for demand include ET3, community paramedicine, “Uber” ambulances and virtual reality for training and education.

Whatever the development, embrace the challenge, Fitch said. Create hope and optimism among your colleagues. “Be a servant leader,” he concluded. “Rock the boat.”

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