Quick Take: An introduction to the EMS Compass Initiative

The national project will create a meaningful process to measure EMS systems and improve performance across systems

EMS Compass is a national project, launched in October 2014, to improve systems of care through meaningful measurement. The National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO) is coordinating the project. NASEMSO executive director Dia Gainor and project manager Nick Nudell led an informative session introducing the EMS Compass project and team. The intent of this initiative is to develop a family of structural, outcome, process, and balancing measures for EMS.

There are already 50 people, with subject matter expertise, involved in the project. The EMS Compass Initiative is organized into a project execution group, a steering committee with members highly knowledgeable of standards design and performance measurement, a measurement design group which will build the process for developing the measures, a stakeholder communication group, a technology developers group, and a blue ribbon panel to evaluate the measures.

The measures will be derived from evidenced-based recommendations. The project will include a testing and validation step for each of the measures between now and its scheduled completion in September, 2016.

Memorable quotes from Nick Nudell about the EMS Compass Initiative

"Hopefully everyone in EMS will hear about EMS Compass and want to learn more about this important project."

"The process will use data to document and improve care."

Key takeaways

  • The EMS Compass Initiative is the single largest cooperative agreement ever awarded by NHTSA Office of Emergency Medical Services.
  • 2016 is the 50th anniversary of EMS system development. We have come a long way with the development of NEMSIS and data sharing in that time.  
  • There are many federal government agencies that are interested in the EMS Compass standards-based project.
  • Communication of the project's aims, progress, and final deliverables is an important and unique aspect of the project.
  • EMS will be accountable for the performance measures it "owns," like chest compression quality, but not be held responsible for overall patient outcomes that are in some portion based on other health care systems.
  • Implementation of the databases, dashboards, or ePCRs related to the measures will be up to the vendors in the marketplace.

Join the EMS Compass Initiative

The EMS Compass Initiative is seeking volunteers to participate in task forces. Some of the opportunities for involvement are for individual paramedics and medical directors, as well as agencies to test measures and state EMS officials.

For more information on the EMS Compass Initiative

To learn more visit the EMS Compass Initiative website or contact a member of the steering committee. On the 'Contact' page submit your email address to receive project updates and invitations to get involved.

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