What Does 2019 Hold In Store for EMS Agencies?

ESO Staff

A new year always brings with it new challenges and new opportunities. For EMS organizations, one big issue to watch is the rule changes around controlled substances. Provider safety and wellness will also become more visible and mainstream.

Below, we explore four trends we predict will have the greatest impact on EMS agencies in 2019. For a deeper look and recommend actions for each trend, download the 2019 EMS Predictions whitepaper.

  •  Controlled substance rules will change in 2019:
    The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will be modifying regulations related to the registration requirements of DEA registrants in regards to the transport and dispensing of controlled substances. The DEA will provide specific requirements for EMS agencies handling controlled substances. As a result of these rule changes, security, ordering, and recordkeeping will also change.
  • Data, and activity around data, will continue to be at the center of prehospital care:
    States are becoming more engaged with EMS repositories and will explore new ways to collect and analyze data to improve patient care and provider safety. Additionally, the new version of NEMSIS (3.5) will be introduced and new focus areas will include: data standards around opioids; naloxone, etc.; publication of research that includes hospital outcome information; and expansion of the NEMSIS e-outcome elements.
  • Payment reform will continue to be a topic of discussion:
    There will be continued conversation regarding payment for alternatives to emergency department transportation, telemedicine, and the addition of quality metrics from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for EMS. Specifically, bidirectional video telemedicine will have an emerging role for EMS providers, to assist in a more sophisticated manner with transport and destination decisions. Quality metrics in a manner similar to other sectors of healthcare will likely seriously be considered for the EMS arena.
  • Provider safety and wellness will become more visible and mainstream:
    Provider safety and wellness have received much attention in recent years, and that will only continue to accelerate in 2019. Evidence-based recommendations for combating fatigue will become more and more important to ensure both provider safety and patient safety. For example, the National Association of State EMS Officials is working on an initiative to address the issue of provider fatigue.

EMS organizations that monitor and act on these trends accordingly will be primed for success in 2019 and beyond.

Download the 2019 EMS Predictions now for suggested actions for each trend.

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