Employee retention and recruitment. A topic rarely discussed just a few years ago now dominates conversation amongst EMS industry leaders. Where to find new employees and how to keep the good ones? I was recently at Pinnacle EMS 2018, where multiple sessions were held on how to improve recruitment and retention of employees, and it came up in every conversation I had.
The future of EMS includes (and combines) two trends: technological advances and the expansion of the role of EMS in providing community medical care.
It is, in part, the advances in technology (some of them already discussed in these blogs) that will allow for that expanding role. As technology becomes smarter and devices become smaller and more portable, it is increasingly possible to provide immediate blood testing for sepsis, STEMI, and so on, as well as portable ultrasound machines.
For most of us the term “fatigue management” wasn’t around when we started in EMS. Providers worked until they went home and that was it. But as we see the number of transports increase and staffing stagnant or even drop, we are asking more of our providers today than we have in the past. Couple this with an increased emphasis on safety and patient satisfaction, and here we are talking about managing fatigue in our workforce.
A consistent theme when talking to EMS leaders about their workforce revolves around “this generation.” This is usually followed by a series of negative attributes and reasons they feel like millennial’s might be hurting their business or even the industry. But are millennial’s just the generation we need in this era of EMS and healthcare? Research may suggest that this generation has the attributes we are looking for in our workforce.
Ambulance design has undoubtedly improved since 1963, when the ambulances of Baltimore could be no more than 54 inches high, because nothing taller would fit in the hospital ambulance bays. Rescue workers couldn’t stand upright, of course, but the height allowed them to brace their backs again the ceiling.
The size of the ambulance has always been a compromise: agility, speed, and economy versus where the vehicle needs to be driven and what it needs to contain.
It seems like no matter where we turn in EMS there is some discussion about provider safety. From the overarching idea of the EMS Culture of Safety, to providing ballistic protection for all EMS and fire personnel or concern for scene safety in the wake of attacks on EMS professionals. We know we want to make a change but many organizations struggle with how to make sweeping safety changes.
Although the ambulance itself is only one part of a patient’s experience with EMS, it’s certainly an important part. A solid chassis and a good suspension system that cushion the ride and safely bear the weight of the equipment, patient, and EMTs are universally praised. But there are numerous disagreements about other issues, at least some of which have an impact on patient experience and on the results of patient satisfaction surveys.
Ambulance Services: Build Your Own or Contract Out?
This is the debate going on in hospitals right now. How is your EMS agency helping hospitals meet their Triple Aim goals? How do you measure patient experience? Do you know how your EMS service influences patients? These are questions you need to be able to answer for hosptials to give you a contract.
We’re not even at the end of 2017’s hurricane season and we seem likely to break the kinds of records that no one wants to break, like the number of Category 3 or greater storms in one season and cost of rescue, recovery, and rebuilding. Much, of course, remains unknown about the final toll on Puerto Rico and the U.S.
Patient satisfaction is one of the key metrics our hospital partners are measured by, and there is little doubt that we will eventually see the same trend move into the prehospital world. To prepare for this we need to better understand how to train our providers, measure their success and remediate when necessary in the area patient satisfaction.