Emergency Medical Services Personnel: Comparing Rural and Urban Provider Experience and Provision of Evidence-based Care Report Released

A new study by the WWAMI Rural Health Research Center, led by Davis Patterson, PhD, examined the relationship between EMS provider levels of experience and the provision of evidence-based care for rural and urban EMS systems.

We found that rural-serving EMS agencies provided evidence-based care for stroke, hypoglycemia, and trauma less often than urban serving EMS agencies. Rural EMS professionals responded to fewer daily 911 encounters on average and spent less total time on 911 responses than urban EMS professionals. Patients were more likely to receive evidenced based care for seizures and trauma when the lead EMS professional had accumulated more total time responding to 911 calls. Agency staffing—paid, volunteer or mixed—did not generally influence the provision of evidence-based care for seizures, stroke, and trauma. This study underscores the importance of developing benchmarks of evidence-based care appropriate for rural EMS systems, and will help inform educators, policymakers and stakeholders in devising solutions for addressing the gaps in training and systems of care for rural EMS systems.

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Interested in more research on rural EMS? Our peer center, the University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies recently published a related policy brief: How Actual Practice of Emergency Medical Services Personnel Aligns with the Recommended National Scope of Practice in Rural Versus Urban Areas of the U.S.