Improving Patient Safety in EMS with Simulation

Emergency vehicle, light car EMS Patient Safety

Although patient safety hasn’t been studied as much in EMS as in nursing and pharmacy (for example), it is becoming a focus in EMS and EMS education now. Educational challenges that exist can be overcome by incorporating simulation into the EMS curriculum.

The Center for Patient Safety (CPS) is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to reducing medical errors. The CPS has identified 10 safety goals for EMS intended to reduce patient errors and improve provider safety.

    1. Airway management
    2. Bariatrics
    3. Behavioral health
    4. Crashes
    5. Medication mistakes
    6. Patient safety culture
    7. Pediatrics
    8. Provider mental health
    9. Stretches
    10. Transition of care

A Culture for Patient Safety

Each organization has its own culture, and extrapolating the idea of patient and provider safety culture can be challenging. CPS hopes to help EMS organizations establish a basic framework of safety culture, and simulation will play a large role in that culture going forward.

Patient safety culture stems from leadership; the basic foundation of safety is built on the attitudes of those who practice, teach, and lead the EMS profession. In addition, frontline providers need an understanding of and appreciation for its importance.

Patient safety culture in EMS relies on:

  • Shared accountability: Open sourced principles and philosophies of just culture, which balances the need for an open and honest reporting environment with the end of a quality learning environment and culture.
  • Transparency: An environment where trust exists for the sharing of information about mistakes and unsafe situations.
  • Knowledge: Using science and evidence-based practices as a foundation to understand why mistakes happen.
  • Continual learning: Process improvements based on what is learned from reporting and the science of safety.
  • Flexibility: Leadership is proactive and positive to implement changes that will provide safer care, instead of relying on reactive methods to create organizational change.

Simulation will play a vital role in the development of EMS patient safety culture. Participants in simulation sessions will learn to physically engage with the scenario, which will emphasize its effectiveness, then they will be assessed and debriefed.

Pocket Nurse® EMS solutions are available to help organizations reach patient safety goals and grow the patient safety culture in EMS. We will also be exploring these 10 safety goals for EMS as outlined by CPS here at SimTalkBlog, so stay tuned.

“Incorporating Patient Safety Objectives in to EMS Simulation Activities,” JEMS, October 2, 2017

For scenarios and more information, see the 28-page #EMSFoward booklet at the CPS site.

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