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Patient safety in emergency medical services: executive summary and recommendations from the Niagara Summit

  • Blair L. Bigham (a1), Ellen Bull (a2), Merideth Morrison (a3), Rob Burgess (a4), Janet Maher (a5), Steven C. Brooks (a1) (a6) (a7) and Laurie J. Morrison (a1) (a6)...

Abstract

Emergency medical services (EMS) personnel care for patients in challenging and dynamic environments that may contribute to an increased risk for adverse events. However, little is known about the risks to patient safety in the EMS setting. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted a systematic review of the literature, including nonrandomized, noncontrolled studies, conducted qualitative interviews of key informants, and, with the assistance of a pan-Canadian advisory board, hosted a 1-day summit of 52 experts in the field of EMS patient safety. The intent of the summit was to review available research, discuss the issues affecting prehospital patient safety, and discuss interventions that might improve the safety of the EMS industry. The primary objective was to define the strategic goals for improving patient safety in EMS. Participants represented all geographic regions of Canada and included administrators, educators, physicians, researchers, and patient safety experts. Data were collected through electronic voting and qualitative analysis of the discussions. The group reached consensus on nine recommendations to increase awareness, reduce adverse events, and suggest research and educational directions in EMS patient safety: increasing awareness of patient safety principles, improving adverse event reporting through creating nonpunitive reporting systems, supporting paramedic clinical decision making through improved research and education, policy changes, using flexible algorithms, adopting patient safety strategies from other disciplines, increasing funding for research in patient safety, salary support for paramedic researchers, and access to graduate training in prehospital research.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Rescu, Keenan Research Centre, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital and University of Toronto, 30 Bond Street, Toronto. ON M5B 1W8; bighamb@smh.toronto.on.ca

References

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