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Research is essential for the development of evidence-based emergency medical services (EMS) systems of care. When resources are scarce and gaps in evidence are large, a national agenda may inform the growth of EMS research in Canada. This mixed methods consensus study explores current barriers and existing strengths within Canadian EMS research, provides recommendations, and suggests EMS topics for future study.
Purposeful sampling was employed to invite EMS research stakeholders from various roles across the country. Study phases consisted of 1) baseline interviews of a subsample, 2) roundtable discussion, and 3) an online Delphi survey, in which participants scored each statement for importance. Consensus was defined a priori and met if 80% scored a statement as “important” or “very important.”
Fifty-three stakeholders participated, representing researchers (37.7%), EMS administrators (24.6%), clinicians/ providers (20.7%), and educators (17.0%). Participation rates were as follows: interviews, 13 of 13 (100%); roundtable, 47 of 53 (89%); survey round 1, 50 of 53 (94%); survey round 2, 47 of 53 (89%); and survey round 3, 40 of 53 (75%). A total of 141 statements were identified as important: 20 barriers, 54 strengths/opportunities, 31 recommendations, and 36 suggested topics for future research. Like statements were synthesized, resulting in barriers (n 5 10), strengths/opportunities (n 5 24), and recommendations (n 5 19), which were categorized as time, opportunities, and funding; education and mentorship; culture of research and collaboration; structure, process, and outcome of research; EMS and paramedic practice; and the future of the EMS Research Agenda.
Consensus-based key messages from this agenda should be considered when designing, funding, and publishing EMS research and will advance EMS research locally, regionally, and nationally.