Quick Thoughts from EMS World Expo 2014

I love Nashville, so one of the highlights from my trip to EMS World Expo was eating at Jack’s BBQ on Broadway, but there was also plenty more to be excited about at the actual show held in the Music City Center this week. While I missed the Preconference sessions and World Trauma Symposium, I arrived on Tuesday for the opening ceremonies. The keynote presentation was by Dr. Alexander Eastman on the subject of “Improving Survivability During Mass Shootings”. EMS1 did a quick article on the talk covering his two main points: first, that EMS must train more closely with other services such as law enforcement, and the second that we must take better advantage of hemorrhage control technology and become true “experts” at controlling blood loss. After all, the mass-shooting scene resembles the battlefield and people die there from the same wounds that soldiers do in war.

Choosing which classes to attend is always a difficult task; however, it is the key to getting the most value from a major EMS conference like this one. Sessions varied from the High Performance EMS Master Class on the “10 Top Tips for Improving Your Operations” with Rob Lawrence to “The Psychology of Pediatric Resuscitation in the Field” with Dr. Peter Antevy. They can both be frightening in their own way, but facing your fears for the benefit of others is what we do. So choose the topic where what you learn can be directly applied in your service. Learn everything you can and go home determined to make a difference with your new found knowledge. In some cases, that knowledge may be applied at a more personal level, as David Page reminded us in a session about our own mental health. He asked us to “Repeat after me: We diagnose and we are OK with that.”

It is also good to check out some of the less traditional learning opportunities such as watching (or even participating in) live podcast recordings, labs, and topical panel discussions. Several thought-provoking ideas came out during the EMS Education panel yesterday where instructors shared openly while earning CE credit. For instance, “you know there’s a problem with our standards when our EMTs can’t give Narcan, but our LEOs can.”  And ideas that challenge current thinking such as how to move out of the classroom in order to provide more realistic field experience or simulating that experience by integrating smartphone apps that can do everything a book can do, and even cost less while still being more mobile.

The simulation lab in the exhibit hall was an excellent opportunity to play with some of the latest in patient simulation technology. I specifically sought out an infant CPR simulator from Laerdal Medical that not only helped me feel the right depth and rhythm of compressions, but it provided feedback on respiration quality with various infant ages/sizes too. This is experience I seldom get in the field or have the experience to feel comfortable doing well. Many other exhibitors also provided simulation manikins and an equal number provided moulage aids to make up real volunteers as trauma victims. EMS World recognizes the top innovators in the exhibit hall each year with an award and links articles to their products on its website. You can check out the latest award recipients here.

For those who could not make it to the show in person, you were certainly not alone. My friend Greg Friese, who normally posts Everyday EMS Tips, was also not able to attend this year but described how he followed what was happening by using social networking and posted his observations here. No matter how you get your news, just be sure to get the news and stay current in the exciting and changing field that is your profession.


1 Comment

  • Rob Lawrence says:

    In my High Performance EMS session I presented ‘Robs 10 top tips’ or Healthy Habits of High Performing Systems’.

    I majored on key elements of business practice, organizational performance and clinical excellence required in any high performing system, EMS or otherwise. My ten top tips were as follows:

    1. Economic Efficiency. – money is getting too tight to mention.

    2. Data has to be your favorite Four Letter Word! Collect, collate, analyze and act… Create your own intelligence cycle.

    3. SSM – More than just Ambulances on street corners!

    4. Clinical Excellence – responding is 1/6th of the story – this is the important bit!

    5. Lean Systems from front line to back office… If you can’t train, maintain. Supply and bill you will fail.

    6. Cultured Safety is a must. Enough said

    7. We Are Public Health As Well. Shame on you if you do not know the name of your Public Health Director. If Ebola alone didn’t make you realize we are public health troops then you must have been sleeping.

    8. Innovation and Research. We are data rich and keen but our industry also lacks good academic evidence get out and measure and report.

    9. MIH – Anyone can create simple programs even if it’s just assessing frequent service users.

    10. Communicate Well – Internally and Internally. In this social media fast paced world there is no excuse for not informing, friending and educating about your service

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