Prehospital Emergency Medical Services Personnel Study

Date: May 24, 2022

Prehospital Emergency Medical Services Personnel: Comparing Rural and Urban Professional Experience and Provision of Evidence-Based Care

This study describes the relationship between prehospital emergency medical services (EMS) providers’ levels of experience and provision of evidence-based care for rural and urban populations. Using electronic prehospital EMS patient care record data, Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho (WWAMI) Rural Health Research Center examined four EMS Compass performance measures of evidenced-based care for seizure, stroke, hypoglycemia, and trauma.

Compared with EMS agencies serving predominantly urban patient populations, rural-serving agencies less often provided evidence-based care according to performance measures for stroke, hypoglycemia, and trauma. The rural/urban difference was more pronounced with increasing rurality. Using daily 911 encounters and total time spent on 911 encounters as measures of accumulated experience, WWAMI Rural Health Research Center found that EMS professionals at rural agencies had lower levels of accumulated experience than professionals at urban agencies. Experience levels decreased as agency rurality increased. Patients were more likely to receive evidenced-based care for seizure and trauma when the lead EMS professional at the encounter had accumulated more total time responding to 911 encounters. Measures of experience were not associated with evidence-based care for stroke or hypoglycemia.

Contact Information:

Davis Patterson, PhD
WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
Phone: 206.543.1892

Additional Resources of Interest: