The Role of EMS in Patient Safety

The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) published a follow-up report to the now famous Institute of Medicine’s “To Err Is Human.” The new report, “Free from Harm”, calls attention to the patient safety lessons learned over the past decade and a half, as well as reminding health care providers that many of the same issues initially spotlighted still remain.

Although EMS is not specifically mentioned in the report, given the increased focus that the care continuum receives, it stands to reason that EMS is clumped with other outpatient providers. Beyond the occasional special section in journals like Prehopsital Emergency Care, the EMS industry isn’t known for patient safety research, but that tone is changing. An increased focus on the safety of providers seems to be causing a paradigm shift that is allowing EMS to look at patient safety just as closely.

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