Part of the value of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is the data emergency responders are able to obtain.
Because of the volume and nature of emergency medical scenarios EMTs and paramedics respond to, their statistics often capture in great detail certain trends and concerns related to the health and safety of a region. This information is crucial to the successful continued operation of regional and state health departments and the initiatives they set forth in the name of public health. For example, on a national level, EMS data is collected to observe motor vehicle accident information. These details are then analyzed by experts and consulted in the creation of safety advisory policies and systems that improve emergency response to motor vehicle crashes.
In Florida, the Emergency Medical Services Tracking and Reporting System (EMSTARS) helps the Department of Health make improvements to healthcare services.
What Does EMSTARS Do?
EMSTARS is a system that collects data from emergency calls to EMS agencies. With that data, the state creates benchmarks for health and safety trends and observes related trends as they occur. This body of information allows for the implementation of new policies and procedures in conjunction with the prevailing health-related concerns and issues Floridians face.
However, not all EMS agencies coordinate with EMSTARS. For those who do not, there is a separate prehospital aggregate system, which requires quarterly reporting to collect similar, yet not as comprehensive, data.
Florida is in participation with a national initiative to report EMS data to the national governing body of emergency medical services to create an overall safer and more advised country, the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS).
What is EMS Data Used For?
Both EMSTARS and aggregated data are maintained and protected by the Florida Department of Health. The department specifically states that the purpose of the data collection is "for the advancement of medical research" and "local, regional, state-level quality improvement efforts." To learn more about EMS data and its usage, visit floridahealth.gov.