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By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
It’s no secret that ambulance companies throughout the country have been contemplating ways to handle the influx of non-emergency patients. Non-emergency use of the system makes it difficult for ambulance companies to manage all of their 911 calls in true emergencies.
Understanding that many patients who call 911 may not actually need 911 service, a few ambulance services have changed their approach by incorporating the Community Paramedicine Model. This model is being used across the country and has had a positive impact in the communities it serves.
The Community Paramedicine Model is similar to that used by the Visiting Nurse Association. Many patients will call 911 for transportation to the nearest hospital emergency department because they are unable to see their primary care doctor or they have no other way to get to the ER.
The Community Paramedicine Model turned this issue on its head when it started sending out teams of medical providers to patients at home to check on them on a regular basis. This has led to improved patient care and has also kept patients out of the emergency department, freeing up resources for emergency medical services.
New Model Will Soon Refer Some Emergencies to Clinics, Not Hospitals
While the Community Paramedicine Model has had great success, a new model developed in Washington, D.C., will debut soon. It is expected to change the situation for how ambulance agencies handle 911 emergencies.
The new EMS Model in Washington, D.C. takes an aspect of the community medicine model and applies it to the current patient care model. Under this model, when someone calls 911, the call will be directed to a dispatcher. The dispatcher will triage the situation, either sending a team to the caller or transferring the call to a nurse. Depending on the nurse’s assessment, the caller may be told to go to the emergency department or to visit a clinic.
This new model is an interesting allocation of resources for emergency medical services. It essentially takes resource management problems into account and redirects them in a new way.
As this treatment model is put into practice, there will surely be issues that arise. But if it is successful, it very well may prove to be one of the dynamic ways emergency medical services make positive changes in the future.