California’s Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) www.emsaonline.com and the Local Emergency Service Agencies (LEMSA) www.emsaac.org/about/lemsas are working together to improve the quality and completeness of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and specialty care data.
Until recently, EMS has been largely excluded from the healthcare data revolution, but now there is the realization that EMS plays a key role in many critical and costly medical interventions as in the case of trauma, stroke, STEMI, and overall emergency care.
The State Executive Data Advisory Group within EMSA in June 2016 updated their strategy for California’s EMS to develop a comprehensive and integrated statewide approach to collecting, analyzing, reporting, and utilizing data.
In California, EMS collection efforts have been decentralized with the LEMSAs collecting, analyzing, and reporting data based on local system needs. However, at the State level without reliable and consistent data, the EMSA has relied on the review and approval of EMS plans from local EMS agencies.
Some local EMSAs have established sophisticated data collection systems but uniformity is lacking in these systems plus varied analytic methodologies are used which has been limiting data reporting.
Legislatively, California now has several bills pertaining to EMS data that were signed into law in 2015. The legislation requires the EMSA to establish data standards to coordinate and integrate all state activities concerning EMS.
As of 2015, about 70 percent of EMS providers have been documenting patient encounters in the Electronic Patient Care Reporting (ePCR) www.ems1.com system. This is about to change. The current system is being replaced by the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS) version 3.2.2 http://nemsis.org which is expected to improve the available data for EMS and is compatible with Health Level 7 (HL7).
Other data sources are currently or soon to be integrated with the pre-hospital data such as:
- Seventy three of the 78 designated trauma centers must report data to either local EMSA or directly to EMSA
- Requiring EMSA to partner with the California Department of Health (CDPH) www.cdph.ca.gov on a grant from the California Data Exchange Center (CDEC) to create a statewide stroke registry to link hospital and outcome data with EMS data