National EMS Information System (NEMSIS)
“EMS saves lives.” “We make a difference.” Have you ever wished you could prove that? Every day, EMS providers are held accountable for response times, quality of service, emergency care provided, and for the cost or value of EMS to the patient and community. How is that measured? Ever wonder how your service measures up with other EMS providers?
Some day, EMS may be able to answer these questions and many more, thanks to the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS). Because of the uniform EMS data collected throughout the Nation, researchers will be able to determine the many clinical and operational contributions made by EMS and be able to provide good information about the number and types of EMS calls. NEMSIS data will have many uses at the local, State, and national levels, including information to help guide education curricula, quality improvement, evaluating patient and EMS system outcomes, facilitating research efforts, addressing resources for disaster and domestic preparedness, and providing valuable information on many other issues or areas of need related to emergency care. Most important, NEMSIS will provide valuable information for local EMS services and medical direction to help improve patient care.
To date, 48 State and 4 Territorial EMS offices have signed on to a Memorandum of Understanding, agreeing to promote and support the implementation of NEMSIS in their jurisdictions. NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) has agreed to house NEMSIS data at the national level. The EMS program at NHTSA has contracted with the University of Utah, with the assistance of the University of North Carolina, to serve as the NEMSIS Technical Assistance Center. Plans are for five States to fully implement NEMSIS in the coming year, with more States to follow.
For the first time, there will be a nationwide standard EMS data set, and data elements will be uniform at the local, State, and national levels. EMS will have the ability to strategically plan its future, with decisions based on objective evidence. NEMSIS data will give EMS the chance to guide and improve itself, and demonstrate its progress to the public, policy makers, and financial decision makers. For more information on NEMSIS, visit the NEMSIS Web site at www.nemsis.org. For additional information, contact Susan McHenry.