California's emergency medical services system got a boost this month with the announcement that the California Office of Traffic Safety has extended its financial support for a statewide data system that collects and analyzes information about EMS performance.
The California Emergency Medical Services Information System, known as CEMSIS, is compatible with the National EMS Information System. The program collects over one hundred different data elements from dispatchers and emergency medical responders throughout California to create an electronic medical record for pre-hospital care.
"About half of the state's ambulance services contribute data to the system right now," said Dr. Howard Backer, Director of the California Emergency Medical Services Authority, which operates CEMSIS. "As we continue to work with the counties to develop the linkages necessary to collect data, the information will be invaluable in evaluating and improving responses and patient outcomes. This also allows evaluation of integrated systems of care for trauma, stroke, and heart attack, when protocols are started by paramedics in the field and continued as the patient moves through Emergency Departments and into the hospital."
On January 5, 2012, the California Emergency Medical Services Authority received a $248,000 grant to provide full-time program staffing, data system operational costs, and support for special data linkage projects. Plans are underway to link pre-hospital data from CEMSIS with three other state-wide data systems, which include an inpatient hospital data system and emergency department patient data system, both from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, and the traffic collision data system held by California Highway Patrol.
End users will be able to study key issues such as high frequency traffic collision patterns, effective use of child passenger seats, EMS transport of patients to trauma centers, and post-crash patient survivability. "Once complete, this unified data set will bring comprehensive, unprecedented insight to traffic injury surveillance across California," said Backer. "EMSA looks forward to working towards this important goal in support of California's Strategic Highway Safety Plan.
Funding for the grant was from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.