Pilot program launched for EMS behavior health data

June 26, 2015    |   By: Calevir

The Center for Patient Safety works closely with many EMS services around the United States to improve patient safety and reduce preventable harm. Over the past year EMS leaders have expressed interest to better serve the needs of the mental health population. In the process many of these leaders have discovered there is little data around these encounters and transports. This includes emergency calls or scene encounters as well as inter facility transfers between hospitals.

Therefore, approximately six months ago the Center’s EMS data committee started to explore the opportunity to collect data around these patient encounters. This includes understanding what happens on an emergency scene but also during an inter facility transfer. Recently the committee finalized the data collection formats for this project. Starting this month a pilot program was initiated to collect data and so far participation has been strong.

Why a PSO? Participating with a federally listed PSO (Patient Safety Organization) that works with EMS offers many important benefits. PSO’s were created to support shared learning under the Patient Safety Quality Improvement Act of 2005. A PSO does this with federal safeguards to protect discoverability of event analysis and deliberations. Event information is aggregated and de- identified then shared with participants in various learning opportunities. Many EMS services are hesitant to share data out of the fear of litigation and concern about their public image

The behavior health pilot will collect data around several key areas including provider and patient safety as well as resource utilization. In addition, many leaders would like to understand the frequency and dynamics of specific high risk events such as patient elopement from an ambulance.  Data will also support understanding community’s mental health resources as this often determines the destination for this patient population.

EMS leaders are hopeful that this new area of data collection will help everyone understand the current state more clearly. The Center and its many PSO participants are excited to be involved with this project. Ultimately we hope it drives greater patient and provider safety while we also learn how to save healthcare dollars.


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