Observations on EMS Today

TOTWTYTR weighs in with his impressions of EMS Today.

I agree with his assessment. My impressions of EMS 2.0 run along the same lines, misgivings I outlined in my wet blanket posts on the movement. None of the ideas espoused in EMS 2.0 are substantially different than the 16-year-old EMS Agenda For the Future.

I can remember 12 years ago, when I was Chris Kaiser or Justin Schorr, and TOTWTYTR was the guy tempering my idealism with a hard dose of reality and perspective.

What is different this time is the social media revolution.

EMS bloggers like Justin Schorr, Chris Kaiser, and others, filmmakers like Ted Setla, and EMS podcasters like Jamie Davis, Chris Montera, Greg Friese, and Ron Davis have recognized the power of social media, and they’ve harnessed it to empower the rank-and-file EMS provider in the process.

The days when the professional committee members could shape EMS policy without input from street providers are becoming a thing of the past. We have a voice now, and its a powerful one.

Now we just need to figure out what we want to say, but that subject is weighty enough to deserve its own blog post.

Other observations on the EMS Today exhibit hall:

  • Therapeutic hypothermia is taking off in a big way. Three or four years ago, when we realized how effective a prehospital treatment CPAP couldbe, we saw an explosion in the number of product offerings to fit the demand. Now, it’s therapeutic hypothermia for post-ROSC patients. I saw at least a dozen more cooling systems than were offered even last year.
  • We’re still taking the wrong approach to airway management, but it’s getting better. Yes, there is an ever-widening array of suproglottic airways, but there is also an ever-widening array of toys, gee-gaws, doodads and expensive video laryngoscopes that supposedly make endotracheal intubation easier…
  • … ignoring, of course, the fact that the problem isn’t so much lack of tools as it is lack of education and practice, and ever-decreasing proof of benefit. And that’s not likely to change as long as we continue to view ourselves as a patch and a skill set.
  • Ambulance design continues to evolve. After EMS Expo, I posted a look at some of those changes. Later this week, I’ll revisit the subject with some of the new stuff I saw at EMS Today 2011.

That’s all the free ice cream I’ve got for right now, folks. Check back soon for a post where I pose the question: “What is EMS – public health, or public safety?”