ESO Identifies Key EMS Trends to Watch in 2021

Focus will be on COVID-19, payment models, EMS’ evolving role in public health, resource management, and training and response preparedness  

January 5, 2021 – Austin, TexasESO, the leading data and software company serving emergency medical services (EMS), fire departments, hospitals, and state EMS/trauma offices, today shared the trends it predicts will have the biggest impact on EMS agencies in 2021: ET3 and COVID-19 will drive new behavior; EMS’ role will evolve; resource management will be crucial; and training and response preparedness will experience an overhaul.

“COVID-19 changed the public health landscape in 2020, but the implications will be felt in 2021 and beyond,” said Dr. Brent Myers, Chief Medical Officer for ESO. “In this pandemic, ET3 will change behavior in terms of how we treat and transport patients. Additionally, we anticipate EMS taking on a much broader role in public health as we figure out how to distribute a vaccine effectively. Moreover, as money gets tighter and resources become more scarce, resource management is going to be key. Organizations will need to adjust and plan accordingly to be successful this year.”

Key EMS Predictions for 2021:

  • COVID-19 will continue to be a challenge across the board:
    From EMS agencies being on the brink of shutting down to staffing challenges to ongoing stress on families and providers, COVID-19 will continue to stretch organizations of all sizes. Additionally, local and state budgets will be negatively affected, and COVID-19 will continue to impose a burden on EMS resources. Moreover, changing population centers from urban to suburban and rural areas due to the pandemic will increase the pressure on smaller providers to provide the same level of service that the migrated population is accustomed to receiving. Understanding and properly managing available (and possibly limited) resources, including PPE, will be critical to ensure providers’ safety and well-being. This includes the need for access to real-time data at the community, regional, and state levels to ensure the right tools are in the right place at the right time to be most effective.
  • COVID-19 and an evolving payment model will change practice patterns:
    With COVID-19 cases continuing to surge, the clinical and financial implementation of telemedicine – coupled with alternative destinations – will continue to impact the ways in which EMS providers respond to and treat patients, even after the pandemic has passed. Additionally, the roll out of the Emergency Triage, Treatment and Transport (ET3) Model will accelerate the use of telemedicine, treatment on site, and transportation to alternative destinations.
  • The role of EMS in public health will evolve:
    On a small scale, in late 2020, vaccines will be distributed to specific groups – mainly frontline healthcare workers and the elderly. As production ramps, the need for broader and wider distribution and administration of the vaccine is critical. EMS will likely become a key component in the administration chain within their communities to ensure mass vaccination in a timely manner. However, EMS agencies will also have to manage existing workloads in addition to these new responsibilities as public health becomes a cornerstone of response for EMS.
  • Training and response preparedness will adapt and leverage technology:
    In retrospect, we will learn we were woefully unprepared for the long-term response and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this type of situation will increasingly become the new normal. In some ways, public health will be re-envisioned as we move to more diligent disaster preparedness efforts and embrace virtual and online learning to share knowledge and insights to help with both recruitment and readiness. EMS Agencies will become more involved in public health efforts, including disease surveillance and prevention, as these organizations have been an invaluable asset on the frontlines. Additionally, the need to fully understand current inventory levels with the ability to quickly restock will be vital to ensure not only a rapid response, but also a rapid response with the right tools.

Download the 2021 EMS Predictions whitepaper here.

About ESO
ESO (ESO Solutions) is dedicated to improving community health and safety through the power of data. Since its founding in 2004, the company continues to pioneer innovative, user-friendly software to meet the changing needs of today’s EMS agencies, fire departments, hospitals, and state EMS offices. ESO currently serves thousands of customers throughout North America with a broad software portfolio, including the industry-leading ESO Electronic Health Record (EHR), the next generation ePCR; ESO Health Data Exchange (HDE), the first-of-its-kind healthcare interoperability platform; ESO Fire RMS; trauma, burn and stroke registry software; and ESO State Repository. ESO is headquartered in  Austin, Texas. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Andy Prince
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(512) 289-4728