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Category: EMS Operations

Topic: EMS Systems

Level: EMR

Next Unit: History of the EMS System

7 minute read

Quality Improvement is a dynamic system of continually evaluating and improving care and reducing errors.

The hurdle of creating quality feedback loops that improve the efficacy of treatment is one of our most urgent healthcare challenges.

There are 3 types of errors:

  1. Skill-based failure - Failures of action, or unintentional actions, are classified as skill-based errors. This error type is categorized into slips of action and lapses of memory.
  2. Rule-based failure - actions that match intentions but do not achieve their intended outcome due to incorrect application of a rule or inadequacy of the plan.
  3. Knowledge-based failure - actions that are intended but do not achieve the intended outcome due to knowledge deficits.

Effective methods of reducing your own errors include

  • debriefing calls,
  • questioning your own assumptions,
  • using decision aids such as algorithms, and
  • asking for help.

Quality improvement and quality assurance are critical components of providing high-quality patient care in the EMS system. Understand the difference between these two processes:
Quality improvement is an ongoing effort to identify and implement changes that result in improved patient outcomes. It involves analyzing data, identifying areas for improvement, developing strategies to address these areas, and measuring the effectiveness of the implemented changes.
Quality assurance, on the other hand, focuses on ensuring that specific quality standards are met. It involves regular reviews of clinical care to ensure that it meets predetermined criteria and standards.

One key step in the quality improvement process is data collection. EMS providers must be able to collect, analyze, and interpret data related to patient care to identify areas for improvement. For example, if data indicates that response times to certain types of emergencies are longer than desired, the EMS provider can develop strategies to improve response times, such as implementing new dispatch protocols or adjusting deployment strategies. Additionally, EMS providers should be familiar with various quality improvement models, such as the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle, which provides a structured approach to identifying and implementing changes to improve patient care.

Another important aspect of quality improvement and assurance is the ability to work within a team. EMS providers must work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, and hospital staff, to ensure that patient care is coordinated and seamless. This ain't Top Gun, Maverick! Effective communication and teamwork are essential to ensure that patient handoffs are smooth and that care is uninterrupted.

Finally, EMS providers should be familiar with the principles of continuous quality improvement. This includes regular monitoring and evaluation of clinical care, identifying and addressing barriers to quality care, and adapting to changes in the healthcare environment. For example, if new evidence-based guidelines or protocols are developed, EMS providers must be able to incorporate these changes into their practice to ensure that patient care is up-to-date and evidence-based.