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Acad Emerg Med. 2014 May;21(5):599-607. doi: 10.1111/acem.12370.

Creating an infrastructure for comparative effectiveness research in emergency medical services.

Author information

1
The Department of Critical Care and Emergency Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (CWS), Pittsburgh, PA; Clinical Research, Investigation, and Systems Modeling of Acute Illness (CRISMA) Center, Department of Critical Care, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Emergency medical services (EMS) providers deliver the initial care for millions of people in the United States each year. The Institute of Medicine noted a deficit in research necessary to improve prehospital care, created by the existence of data silos, absence of long-term outcomes, and limited stakeholder engagement in research. This article describes a regional effort to create a high-performing infrastructure in southwestern Pennsylvania addressing these fundamental barriers.

METHODS:

Regional EMS records from 33 agencies in January 2011 were linked to hospital-based electronic health records (EHRs) in a single nine-hospital system, with manual review of matches for accuracy. The use of community stakeholder engagement was included to guide scientific inquiry, as well as 2-year follow up for patient-centered outcomes.

RESULTS:

Local EMS medicine stakeholders emphasized the limits of single-agency EMS research and suggested that studies focus on improving cross-cutting, long-term outcomes. Guided by this input, more than 95% of EMS records (2,675 of 2,800) were linked to hospital-based EHRs. More than 80% of records were linked to 2-year mortality, with more deaths among EMS patients with prehospital hypotension (30.5%) or respiratory distress (19.5%) than chest pain (5.4%) or nonspecific complaints (9.4%).

CONCLUSIONS:

A prehospital comparative effectiveness research infrastructure composed of patient-level EMS data, EHRs at multiple hospitals, long-term outcomes, and community stakeholder perspectives is feasible and may be scalable to larger regions and networks. The lessons learned and barriers identified offer a roadmap to answering community and policy-relevant research questions in prehospital care.

PMID:
24842512
PMCID:
PMC4030684
DOI:
10.1111/acem.12370
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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