The purpose of this paper is to provide a broad review, analysis, and identification of opportunities for the EMS community to address digital technology developments and offerings. Objectives of this review are to:
- To summarize the overall impact that digital data, medical devices and software applications could have on EMS and their influence on how EMS and 911 systems might operate in the year 2020 and beyond, including the potential for impacting downstream cost savings to the health system and influencing new service opportunities for EMS.
- To synthesize available and emerging digital and mobile technologies and software applications marketed toward the prehospital and 911 environments. What are the common technologies in use today? How are they used? What are the emerging technologies EMS should be aware of?
- To present a model for how these technologies might be used by EMS and 911 systems to improve patient care, systems operations, and performance measurement.
- To investigate how EMS and 911 systems can proactively influence or shape the development of new technologies to enhance their applicability to EMS and 911.
- To identify and analyze mobile and digital technologies from other sectors that show strong potential to improve patient care, training and education, system safety, and operations.
- To present options for how EMS and 911 personnel can evaluate new technologies to assess their clinical and operational contribution to enhancing EMS systems and the delivery of emergency medical care and 911 services.
- To consider policy, legal, organizational, and regulatory challenges that must be addressed before the use of new digital data, medical devices and software applications.
- To educate the EMS and 911 communities about what is possible with emerging technologies and software applications.
These objectives were achieved through a comprehensive review of EMS reports and peer-reviewed articles, complemented by background discussions with 16 subject matter experts. The preliminary findings were presented to the National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC), and the final report prepared based on this feedback, and well as feedback from the US Department of Transportation liaison and two expert reviewers.