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Boarding admitted patients decreases emergency department (ED) capacity to accommodate daily patient surge. Boarding in regional hospitals may decrease the ability to meet community needs during a public health emergency. This study examined differences in regional patient boarding times across the United States and in regions at risk for public health emergencies.
A retrospective cross-sectional analysis was performed by using 2012 ED visit data from the American Hospital Association (AHA) database and 2012 hospital ED boarding data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Compare database. Hospitals were grouped into hospital referral regions (HRRs). The primary outcome was mean ED boarding time per HRR. Spatial hot spot analysis examined boarding time spatial clustering.
A total of 3317 of 4671 (71%) hospitals were included in the study cohort. A total of 45 high-boarding-time HRRs clustered along the East/West coasts and 67 low-boarding-time HRRs clustered in the Midwest/Northern Plains regions. A total of 86% of HRRs at risk for a terrorist event had high boarding times and 36% of HRRs with frequent natural disasters had high boarding times.
Urban, coastal areas have the longest boarding times and are clustered with other high-boarding-time HRRs. Longer boarding times suggest a heightened level of vulnerability and a need to enhance surge capacity because these regions have difficulty meeting daily emergency care demands and are at increased risk for disasters. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:576–582)
Professional behavior is one of the cornerstones of effective emergency medical services (EMS) practice and is a required part of the National Standard Curricula for advanced levels of EMS education. However, peer rating of emergency medical technicians with respect to the 11 categories of professional behavior never has been quantified. This study uses a peer evaluation methodology to assess the affective competencies of practicing EMS providers.
A professional behavior evaluation form was included as part of a survey that was sent to 2,443 randomly selected, nationally registered emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Participants were asked to rate the EMT partner with whom they worked most closely in the past year using 11 different categories of professional behavior using a Likert scale.
One thousand, five hundred, ten (61.8%) surveys were returned and analyzed. Both nationally registered EMTs at the Basic and Paramedic levels rated their partners with respect to 11 categories of professional behavior. The overall average score was 0.68 on a 0–1 scale, with one being the highest. The rating of each of the categories was: (1) integrity (0.77); (2) appearance/personal hygiene (0.74); (3) patient advocacy (0.73); (4) empathy (0.72); (5) self-confidence (0.70); (6) careful delivery of service (0.70); (7) respect (0.65); (8) communication skills (0.64); (9) time management skills (0.63); (10) teamwork/diplomacy skills (0.62); and (11) self-motivation (0.61). Overall, the NREMT-Paramedics rated their partners significantly lower than did the NREMT-Basics (p = 0.0156) and experienced EMT-Basics rated their partners significantly lower than did the newer EMT-Basics (p = 0.0002). Those EMTs who indicated high satisfaction with their current EMS assignment rated their partner more highly on professional behaviors than did those EMTs who were not as satisfied.
Overall, EMTs peer evaluation of professional behavior was “good.” The behaviors most highly rated were integrity and appearance/personal hygiene. The behaviors rated lowest were self-motivation and team work/diplomacy. It appears that paramedics are more critical of their colleagues than are EMT-Basics, that experienced EMT-Basics are harsher critics than are newer EMT-Basics, and that there is a relationship between job satisfaction and peer evaluation.