EMS Agencies’ Data on the Opioid Crisis

  • Posted on March 1, 2018

Every week it seems one of the biggest topics in the healthcare industry is the overdose and opioid epidemic in the United States today. Many reports, including EMS agency reporting, say there is a higher percentage of cases of opioid overdose than we’ve ever seen and hospitals and emergency medical service teams are looking for ways to better manage these cases, looking for ways to prevent them from happening and improve quality of patient care for those who present with opioid overdose.

We know the overuse of opioids is a problem in the U.S., but do we have the data behind how many emergency medical services’ calls are related to opioids and overdose problems? Thanks to the efforts of ESO, we have the first EMS Index that takes a look at 5.02 million patient encounters over the course of 2017 to determine how many calls were related to these issues. Opioid overdose is one of the five key metrics that the Index highlights. Let’s take a closer look.

“The overdose metric looks at the number of patients identified as an overdose case compared to the total volume of calls. Chart 3 shows that of the 5.02 million encounters in our sample, 82,973 had a primary impression related to overdose (or 1.65%). Men accounted for 28% more overdose encounters than women.”

There were 11.35% more overdose encounters reported than stroke as a primary impression. In the Index you’ll find that Chart 4 (download the Index to see the complete chart) also breaks down the EMS agencies’ monthly reports of overdose encounters in 2017. It is noted that cases peaked in the Summer months (May – September).

It is the goal of ESO to arm EMS agencies and hospitals with valuable data like that which can be found in the EMS Index in order to compare their agency to the statistics and take action accordingly. In the Index you’ll find best practices recommendations for each of the five metrics we do a deep dive on.

To see all of the data on the opioid overdose metric as well as four more key metrics, download the ESO EMS Index of 2018 today.