ESO, a data and software company serving emergency medical services (EMS), fire departments, hospitals, and state EMS/Trauma offices, has announced publication of research in Prehospital Emergency Care (PEC) related to COVID-19 in the prehospital and hospital setting entitled: COVID-19 Preliminary Case Series: Characteristics of EMS Encounters with Linked Hospital Diagnoses. The report looks at more than 84,500 records for patients transported between March 1 and April 19, 2020 with linked hospital ICD-10 codes included. The objective of the report is to describe prehospital encounters for patients with a COVID-19 hospital diagnosis and/or COVID-19 EMS suspicion versus those with neither a hospital diagnosis nor EMS suspicion to inform personal protective equipment (PPE) usage by EMS providers.
“We’ve worked closely with our customers to capture and analyze data related to COVID-19 in an effort to help first responders and hospitals best serve their communities in light of this pandemic,” said Dr. Brent Myers, Chief Medical Officer for ESO. “The robust dataset provides key insights in regard to EMS impressions, hospital diagnoses and the use of PPE. While fire and EMS professionals were able to correctly identify nearly 80 percent of patients who were ultimately diagnosed with COVID-19 disease in the hospital, there remained 20 percent of patients whose disease was undetected in the prehospital environment. Providers should consider broad utilization of PPE in order to protect themselves.”
Key findings from the report include:
COVID-19 Diagnoses and Ailments: Those with COVID-19 hospital diagnoses were more likely to present with elevated heart and respiratory rate, hypoxia and fever during the EMS encounter.
COVID-19 Suspicion: A COVID-19 EMS suspicion was documented for 78 percent of hospital-diagnosed COVID-19 patients.
Patient Origin: EMS responses for patients with COVID-19 were more likely to originate from a skilled nursing or assisted living facility.
PPE Usage: PPE usage by EMS was more frequently documented on records of patients who had hospital diagnosed COVID-19.
Dispatch Complaints: While dispatch complaints for hospital-confirmed COVID-19 patients most commonly included general illness and breathing difficulties, there were also cases dispatched as falls, chest pain, and strokes.
Demographic Insights: Consistent with reported in-hospital findings, African American and Hispanic patients made up a disproportionately larger number of COVID-19 diagnoses.
“We are committed to improving the health and safety of communities through the power of data,” added Dr. Myers. “We join the nation in gratitude for all of the first responders who care for us in these truly difficult times. We also want to thank all of the agencies who voluntarily participate in the ESO Data Collaborative, allowing us to utilize de-identified data to evaluate EMS care from 9-1-1 call to hospital discharge for a wide range of conditions, and now particularly with COVID-19. We are continually evaluating these data and plan to provide updates to further assist EMS agencies and hospitals in our response to this pandemic.”
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