EMS Agenda for the Future

The best way to predict the future
is to create it.

---Peter Drucker

The organizations, agencies and individuals that affect the nation's emergency medical services (EMS) system stand at a critical point. For, through their collective efforts it is they who hold the ability and responsibility to create the future of EMS. Participation at local, state and national levels is crucial if EMS is to realize its potential role in caring for the health of America's communities.

Creating the future for EMS is not a simple prospect, but it is critically important. It will require diligent efforts by those who have the resources and capabilities to influence any aspect of the EMS system. It will require changes in the perceived relationship between EMS and other efforts to improve the health of our communities.

Change does not come easy. The need must be recognized, and there must be a vision to help indicate where change will lead. The EMS agenda for the Future identifies the need and offers a vision for the future of EMS that emphasizes its critical role in health care and as the public's emergency medical safety net. The next step toward change is exploration of possible strategies to reach the desired results. The Implementation Guide serves as a tool for such exploration.

The path to the future will undoubtedly include barriers. Among them may be a failure to recognize a desirable change, an inadequate exploration of possibilities or a lack of important participation. New and creative partnerships will be required to overcome these barriers. Some partners may seem logical based upon their current participation in EMS affairs. Others might be found in unlikely places of the health care system, education system, community organizations and agencies, or industry, for example. Partnerships must be inclusive. They must seek diversified perspectives and invite enthusiastic participation. The job of making communities healthier is shared by many. Similarly, the venture to create the future of EMS cannot be done in isolation. It must involve the innumerable agencies, organizations, individuals and interests with which EMS interfaces.

Achieving the vision for the future of EMS will be complex. It is simplified by establishing objectives that lead to the desired result. Yet, work toward meeting all objectives will be an ambitious undertaking. Therefore, it is imperative that all those with a stake in the future of EMS participate and act deliberately. The EMS Agenda for the Future: Implementation Guide is a call for action. EMS organizations, agencies and individuals, and all those who have the potential to affect the EMS system at local, state and national levels must initiate and join partnerships that will create synergy. The spectrum of possibilities for creating the future of EMS can then be explored, so that results are achieved.