Get More From Your Data: Improved Research and Patient Care

ESO Staff

Whether you are a researcher pursuing an important topic, or an EMS agency or hospital diligently collecting data on your team’s performance, you are most likely looking for ways to get the most out of the data in your possession. ESO is continuing its multifaceted support of industry partners working to advance patient care through data.

“As one of the leading holders of EMS data, and a major holder of data on hospital interactions, we feel it is our obligation to make that data readily available to those wanting to improve care,” says ESO Senior Quality Consultant Scott Bourn.

Bourn, himself a registered nurse and paramedic, explains that ESO’s nationwide data-sharing program offers unique insights into the emergency and hospital industries by aggregating stats from dozens of agencies utilizing the ESO Analytics tool. “Our goal is to make our 50 million records safely and ethically available to academic researchers, physicians, and anyone whose main responsibility is to evaluate and improve patient care,” he explains.

A Collaborative Effort

ESO’s core initiative to reach out to and collaborate with researchers and physicians is centered within the Research Leadership Group. Bourn, who chairs the group, explains that members include well-known physicians, well-published non-physician researchers, and other professionals highly respected in the industry. The group’s efforts were framed in the belief that ESO’s data would be most useful to the industry if a structure was available that matched researcher needs within a predictable process that maintained quality.

“We knew we needed guidelines on using the ESO data, as well as procedures on how to request access to the data, how to protect human subject rights, and how to interact throughout the process with ESO,” explains Bourn. “We wanted to protect everyone involved and to ensure that the research was not only ethical but would truly help researchers answer their questions.”

Productive Working Sessions

An important first step in connecting ESO novice researchers with top professionals in the industry took place in July 2018. It was then that ESO partnered with the Prehospital Care Research Forum (PCRF) based out of the UCLA Medical Center to conduct the first Research Forum. The three-day workshop took attendees from step one – formulating their research topic – to completion, including identifying the data, writing an abstract, and finalizing the project.

Completing this type of research project in such a short time is extremely rare, but having numerous ESO and PCRF resources in one room made it possible. Bourn explains that even more than finishing the projects quickly, the quality of the work and research was extremely high as well.

“We ended the Forum with four separate research projects, and after a couple of months of polishing, they were submitted to two separate research conferences,” Bourn says. “All in all, the presentations were accepted for a total of six different posters and/or presentations within both conferences during October 2018 and January 2019. Since only about 60% of submitted projects are typically accepted for these types of conferences, we felt that these were results highly successful and impactful.”

The initial Forum was such a success, in fact, that the Research Leadership Group began plans for its second Forum. This time it will be held in conjunction with the annual ESO Wave conference held March 21-22, 2019 in Austin, TX. The workshop will be open to 20 attendees and be led by faculty from ESO and PCRF. Find out more about how to register, the costs, and the schedule at the Research Forum information page.

Getting More From Your Own Data

A second vital initiative for the Leadership Group was to demonstrate to ESO customers and others in the hospital and emergency care industry how to gain additional value from their own data. Bourn explains that while many agencies store information on operations, billing, and patient interactions, they view it as a “necessary evil.” The idea of digging into this data to answer larger operational questions and improve performance can often seem daunting and intimidating.

“We want to provide examples of how other healthcare organizations, as well as non-medical industries, made the most of their existing data to make real improvements in performance and customer care,” Bourn says. “People who do not consider themselves to be ‘researchers’ assume they don’t have what it takes to do this kind of exploration. But that’s incorrect.”

Training Session on Quality Improvement

At last year’s annual ESO Wave conference, the Leadership Group sponsored a Research & Quality Track that provided information and examples on how to create value from your data, how other industries make improvements based on data, and how to start your own research project.

After receiving good feedback and interest, the track will continue at the 2019 Wave conference. This year it will feature sessions that will help attendees identify, measure, and build areas of improvement within their own data, as well as presentations on the top research from 2018 and what to look for in 2019. The conference will also include a new poster session showcasing some of the top EMS research projects being conducted across the country.

If you are a researcher who would like to learn more about partnering with ESO in a current or upcoming research project, please contact us and note your interest. If you would like to attend an upcoming Research Forum workshop, visit the Research Forum information page.

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