About Quality Improvement
NYS Public Health Law Article 30, section 3006, requires EMS agencies to engage in service-level quality improvement (QI) activities. QI is much more than retrospective review of Patient Care Reports (PCRs). Quality in emergency medical services is the sum of all activities undertaken that develop and maintain a standard of excellence in emergency care. System improvement should be continuous, customer-centered, data-driven, and utilize a scientific approach based on quantitative methods, evidence-based practices, and organizational development principles.
These modern-day approaches to QI have replaced older philosophies regarding punishing individual mistakes and changing group behaviors through deterrence. Instead the emphasis is with inspecting and searching for errors, problems, and deficiencies on the whole and then improving the process or system so that deviations from recognized standards of care are less likely to occur from the start.
Quality Improvement Fundamental Principals
A QI program is only as successful as the commitment toward improvement. To that end, EMS agencies should embrace fundamental principles as follows:
- EMS agencies can and must be improved;
- It is the responsibility of every provider to participate in the effort to improve EMS;
- The foundation of EMS Quality Improvement begins at the agency level;
- There must be a commitment to quality care by the governing body of each EMS agency.
EMS Quality Improvement presents complex challenges and opportunities to continually improve care for patients. Accepting a vision for the future of EMS is an integral part of an EMS plan. EMS must work with other health care providers as well as with social service and public safety agencies. EMS will strive to improve community health and facilitate the appropriate use of acute health care resources. EMS is, and will remain, the emergency medical safety net for anyone in New York State with a perceived need for emergency care.
For more information, please see the BEMS Quality Improvement Manual and PowerPoint: