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Home > Topics > EMS Management
December 14, 2010
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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Back up your arguments with data

By Arthur Hsieh

Editor's note: There’s a debate in Okla. over which entity should provide emergency medical services; the fire department or a specialized transport service. Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh says while the author of the opinion piece is supporting the maintenance of the existing system — at least data and facts are used to prove the point.

This opinion piece is clearly designed to help support the maintenance of an existing system, and I'm appreciating that at least the author is using some data to support the position.

All year I've been on a kick of having our profession demonstrate its effectiveness through research, data collection and analysis of the things we do, rather than through rhetoric and emotionally laden arguments that really have no bearing on the issues at hand.

In the current economic climate, it would seem like a costly endeavor to reconfigure a large, complex system like the one in Tulsa, with potentially little or no improvement in service or outcomes.

To be fair, I haven't seen data about the advantages of a reconfiguration. There very well may be reasons as to why another agency may perform more efficiently or effectively when the system allows responders to specialize.

If Tulsa is like most other cities in the country, it probably doesn't have the money to be able to make the broad, system-wide changes that are implied in this article.

Whether the politics of the system will rule the day is anyone's guess; as the writer suggests, it will be interesting to see the level of tension rise as the initial city council vote nears.

I can only hope that the right people, representing the right constituencies, will come to the table and debate the issues with rationale defenses and explanations, supported by detailed analysis and real-world assumptions.

The community deserves that from its elected officials and public servants. Of course, I might be smokin' something, but I'm always hopeful.

About the author

EMS1 Editor in Chief Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. In the profession since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a published textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at a rural hospital-based ALS system. Contact Art at Art.Hsieh@ems1.com.
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