NEMSQA, 50 EMS agencies gathering data on use of lights, sirens

Board President Michael Redlener said that the best practices that come from the project will help every agency more safely respond to 911 calls

By Leila Merrill

DALLAS — The National Emergency Medical Services Quality Alliance and 50 EMS agencies are working together on a lights-and-siren collaboration in hopes of improving safety.

“With the Lights and Siren EMS Quality Improvement Partnership, we are operationalizing evidence to improve the safety and quality of care in EMS across the country.  We’re excited to see the data flowing in from our partner agencies using the NEMSQA performance measures,” Michael Redlener, MD, NEMSQA board president and co-leader of the project, said in a news release. “Ultimately, the best practices that come out of this project will allow every agency, whatever the service model or size, to more safely and effectively respond to 911 calls.”

Redlener also serves as the medical director of the Mount Sinai West Emergency Department and the director of the Division of EMS and Disaster Preparedness in the Department of Emergency Medicine in the Mount Sinai Health System.

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Podcast: Lights and sirens are a medical intervention

Brooke Burton and Bryan Wilson join the podcast to discuss the NEMSQA Quality Improvement Initiative

Earlier this year, NEMSQA joined more than a dozen national EMS organizations in announcing a joint position paper on the topic of running “hot” that updates and reinforces an earlier paper released in 1994. 

“For EMS,” the paper states, “the purpose of using L&S is to improve patient outcomes by decreasing the time to care at the scene … but only a small percentage of medical emergencies have better outcomes from L&S use.”  The paper includes principles to guide the use of lights and sirens and to improve safety.

“Our L&S Collaborative puts these principles to the test,” said Mike Taigman, nationally known expert in quality improvement science and who serves as the improvement guide at FirstWatch, a technology company that helps public safety agencies use their data to improve. Taigman is co-leading the project with Redlener and Joey Grover, MD, a clinical assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Department of Emergency Medicine, EMS Fellowship Program director, and medical director of Orange County (North Carolina) Emergency Services.

“The Collaborative is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak,” said Taigman. “We’re using NEMSQA’s evidence-based performance measures and NEMSIS data to gather information from participating agencies.”

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Quick Take: It’s time to flip the switch on hot EMS response

Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that the time saved with lights and siren use has little-to-no impact on patient outcomes

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