EMS Agenda for the Future

With the financial and administrative support of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Emergency Medical Services Agenda for the Future , commonly known as the Agenda , was published in 1996. This national consensus document was a collaborative venture led by the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP), in conjunction with the National Association of State EMS Directors (NASEMSD).

The Agenda provided a global vision for Emergency Medical Services:

Emergency Medical Services ( EMS ) of the future will be community-based health management that is fully integrated with the overall health care system. It will have the ability to identify and modify illness and injury risks, provide acute illness and injury care and follow-up, and contribute to treatment of chronic conditions and community health monitoring. This new entity will be developed from redistribution of existing health care resources and will be integrated with other health care providers and public health and public safety agencies. It will improve community health and result in a more appropriate use of acute health care resources. EMS will remain the public's emergency medical safety net.

Designed for use by public and private stakeholders, the Agenda created a common vision to help guide EMS planning and policy development at the local, State and National levels. The Agenda, which addresses 14 attributes of the future emergency medical services system, has generated a number of nationally significant projects and activities including the EMS Education Agenda of the Future: A Systems Approach.

EMS Education Agenda for the Future: A Systems Approach

The Agenda's “Education Systems” attribute contained several recommendations including:

  • Ensure adequacy of EMS education programs

  • Update education core content frequently enough so it reflects patient EMS-health care needs

  • Incorporate research, quality improvement, and management learning objectives in higher level EMS education

  • Commission the development of national core content to replace EMS program curricula

Incorporating the recommendations of the Agenda , in 2000 a multidisciplinary task force formulated the EMS Education Agenda for the Future: A Systems Approach with the following vision:

EMS education in the year 2010 develops competence in the areas necessary for EMS providers to serve the health care needs of the population. Educational outcomes for EMS providers are congruent with the expectations of the health and public safety services that provide them. EMS education emphasizes the integration of EMS within the overall health care system. EMS education is of high quality and represents the intersection of the EMS professional and the formal educational system. The content of the education is based on National EMS Education Standards. There is significant flexibility to adapt to local needs and develop creative instructional programs.

The EMS Education Agenda for the Future: A Systems Approach describes a structured national EMS education system with five integrated components as described in the following diagram:

Diagram 1 - click for long description

An ad hoc committee of the lead organizations for the first three components of the Education Agenda , convened by NHTSA in June 2001, further elucidated the purpose of each component:

  • The National EMS Core Content will specify what knowledge and skills are necessary in the out-of-hospital setting regardless of level of practice…the domain of EMS practice. The Core Content will also determine how these tasks will be performed;

  • The National EMS Scope of Practice Model will specify who (which level of practice) will perform specific skills and how much knowledge providers will have at each level; and,

  • The National EMS Education Standards will prescribe how to teach the knowledge and skills to each provider level.

The EMS Education Agenda proposes an integrated system in which the development of each component involves a national consensus-based approach with the right organizations performing the right functions. For instance, the medical community led the development of this National EMS Core Content , system administrators will lead the development of the National EMS Scope of Practice Model , and EMS educators will lead the development of the National EMS Education Standards .

The first three system components are sequential. The Core Content forms the foundation for the Scope of Practice Model and the Scope of Practice Model forms the foundation for the Education Standards

The development of the National EMS Core Content is the first step of implementing the National EMS Education Agenda for the Future: A Systems Approach .