EMS patient safety initiative

By Doug Socha, Chair EMSCC Research Committee

The EMS Chiefs of Canada recently established a Research Committee responsible for influencing and informing EMS related research.  One of the goals of this committee is to establish a National Research Framework.  A working group has already engaged key stakeholders with the ultimate goal of creating a National EMS Research Agenda.  Other goals are to partner domestically and internationally in establishing research opportunities and/or best practices in support of the goals of the EMSCC.

In support of this initiative and building upon the report Patient Safety in Emergency Medical Services:  Advancing and Aligning the Culture of Patient Safety in EMS, the EMSCC has partnered with the National EMS Management Association, and the North Central EMS Institute to sponsor The Center for Leadership, Innovation and Research in EMS (CLIR).  CLIR is a non-regulatory, not-for-profit group that is promoting and advancing the practice and profession of EMS internationally. CLIR announced a new patient safety initiative called The EMS Voluntary Event Notification Tool (EVENT).  This is an anonymous tool for EMS providers and others to report adverse events that occur in the EMS setting.

All of us in the Paramedic profession are committed to delivering the highest medical standards to the patients and community we serve.  The Paramedic environment is an ever changing setting that is challenging, chaotic and sometimes hazardous.  Decisions and actions by Paramedics are sometimes influenced by environmental factors but are always based upon the experience, training, protocols, medical direction, common medical practice and ultimately the provider’s best judgment.  Regardless of training, experience and especially the intent of the provider, medical errors in the EMS setting occur and may cause harm or even take the life of the very patients the system is intending to save.

An Event Reporting System allows providers to anonymously report safety events that have occurred, could have occurred, or could potentially occur.  Information provided in these anonymous reports identifies needed changes in the systems and processes without placing blame on the individual provider.  EVENT is a channel for thoughtful, accurate and timely notification through anonymous submissions.

The EVENT system can be used to anonymously report any patient-safety related issue such as sentinel events, unexpected or unintended occurrences that result in any physical injury or psychological injury of a patient,  near misses, equipment or device failures, and finally lessons learned, safety ideas and/or concerns or any topic that has been vetted through local authority either without resolution or the reporting person feels that it cannot be brought up with local authority without the risk of repercussion.

The EMSCC has decided to participate and promote EVENT reporting.  This will lead to improved system changes and shared information to help others in our profession so lessons can be learned.  This is simply done by completing the form located at www.event.clirems.org and completing the drop down fields.

There are no self identifiers, and concerns will be shared across Canada in order to promote change and increase transparency of our profession.  Trending reports will be generated and tracked so we can all improve the quality of care we provide. Please help spread the word about the availability of EVENT throughout the EMS community.