EMS providers understand the value of recording and tracking vital signs for patients. These important readings inform decision making when time is of the essence and lives are on the line. However, too many EMS providers overlook the powerful indicators that data can provide about their own company’s vitality. Instead they adopt a “business as usual” attitude that becomes increasingly out of touch with a rapidly evolving industry.
Ambulance services are under a tremendous amount of pressure as they work hard to increase the level of patient care while balancing the real-world demands of operating a business. Executives at EMS companies must remain both flexible and innovative as they adjust their operations to justify their budgets and remain competitive.
More and more EMS executives are discovering that the fastest and most cost-effective way to obtain vital feedback about their operations is to administer patient satisfaction surveys and closely analyze the resulting data. By being more deliberate about data collection, innovative EMS leaders can make smart decisions that improve their company’s productivity and level of patient care, effective immediately.
Here are five ways data can help EMS leaders improve their organizations:
1. Obtain an Accurate Reading
Too often, EMS executives rely on one-off feedback or “gut feelings” to make important decisions about their organizations. As in the field, this type of reactionary thinking can lead to ineffective decision making or yield disastrous results. Accurate information from a significant sample size is vital to gain a reliable perspective of the issue at hand. By standardizing data collection and allowing sample sizes to grow over time, EMS leaders can be sure that their decisions are informed by “apples to apples” comparisons.
2. Look Beyond the Obvious
One of the primary advantages to examining unbiased data is that it reveals surprising results that might otherwise go unnoticed. Spikes in patient dissatisfaction for specific services allow EMS providers to tease apart these problem areas to discover underlying issues that quietly erode satisfaction. Upon discovery, proactive EMS organizations can take immediate steps to remedy problems that might otherwise plague the company for years.
3. Separate the Important from the Irrelevant
Faced with a multitude of daily decisions involved in running a successful EMS operation, providers need a way to quickly discover what is important so they can prioritize more effectively. Data helps reveal the most important needs of the organization so EMS executives can develop a strategy that will address the issues that have the strongest ripple effect to improve the organization.
4. Be More Efficient with Resources
While outside consultants can be effective at helping EMS companies identify weaknesses, the time and resources required to obtain usable insights can quickly drain company coffers, leaving little remaining for change implementation. Patient satisfaction surveys and other forms of unbiased data collection allow patients to share their direct experiences with decision makers. A powerful data tool should provide EMS leaders with the ability to drill down into their data to focus improvements and control costs, allowing EMS organizations to dedicate more resources to developing effective strategies to drive improvement.
5. Advance the EMS Industry
Armed with accurate and reliable data, EMS leadership can begin to innovate new ways to improve efficiency and raise standards throughout the community. These include:
- Encouraging individual EMS companies to become more attuned to looking at data
- Pushing EMS providers to further tailor their services to meet the needs of specific ethnic or religious populations
- Actively seeking to discover gaps in information that lead to limited knowledge about particular demographics
- Examining benchmark reports to gain a greater understanding of industry trends and areas for improvement
EMS organizations have multiple resources at their fingertips to obtain accurate data that can help propel their companies toward greater success. Patient satisfaction surveys and online data aggregation can provide a near-instant snapshot into areas for improvement that EMS providers can address right away. As with the entire healthcare industry, EMS providers must continue to innovate effective ways to provide high levels of patient care while meeting the demands of business operations. Data is a powerful tool that can help.