Looking Back to See Ahead: 2014 in Review

The end of the year is a great time to take stock in what has already passed and to make plans for the future. The vision I had when I started this blog four years ago was summarized in my first blog post, Hello World. Welcome to HP_EMS!  I’m glad to say that today, while many other things have changed about the business, that vision hasn’t strayed from the original intention of sharing news and trying to build community around the efficient and effective delivery of emergency medical care outside of the hospital environment.

Now, as I look back over this past year, I find it interesting to review which articles have generated the most interest. Topping that list was Rob Lawrences’ list on “11 of the Top 10 Tips for High Performing EMS.” I was so convinced it would generate some conversation that I “trickled” it out one point each day on the EMS Deployment Community of Practice to allow reader comments to be directed at each point. And I hope those comments continue to build. The second most active post was “Is ‘SSM’ Still a ‘Bad Idea’?” I hope it wasn’t just the way I phrased the title, but it may have been helped by timing it with the recognition of the lifetime accomplishments of Jack Stout at the Pinnacle conference or the release of a book I co-authored with John Brophy on “Dynamic Deployment: A Primer for EMS“. As any previous reader of my blog will know, I have a desire to improve the poor implementations of SSM and promote the successful ones.

We hear a lot lately about “Evidence-Based Medicince” (EBM) or “evidence-based practice” as it applies more directly to EMS. But we must sometimes learn how to interpret and apply these “best practices” as I tried to challenge readers in the next most popular post, “Could Busier be Better?” which showed evidence that “busier” services generally gave “better” care to patients. I also hear many comments about how the public is abusing EMS by not using our services “appropriately”. Just today, I posted the question on the High Performance EMS Facebook pagedo we provide the emergency medical services that the public wants, or are we trying to train the public to use the EMS services that we can provide?” It was gratifying to see so much activity on the corresponding post from October asking “Is our success a sign of our failure?” and an honorable mention to the later post “We Need Some New Stories” on the same theme.

I am also heartened to see that the fifth most popular post was about deeper engagement with peers on other social media outlets, specifically Twitter, from the post “Influencing Paramedics on Twitter.” It has never been my desire to create the most popular blog, have the most “Likes” on Facebook, or even the greatest number of Twitter “Followers”, but to simply spark meaningful conversation. It doesn’t immediately need to ignite significant changes either. I want to help people think differently about their job and gradually see new perspectives. I plan to remain in this field for the long haul. The business of EMS does not change quickly, but still change is coming nonetheless. I want everyone concerned to participate in that change and make intelligent decisions for themselves and their service to help us all deliver the best EMS care – whatever that might eventually mean.

The title I chose for that first post four years ago included the phrase “Hello World” as an acknowledgment that my background was in programming and business optimization consulting prior to becoming an EMT late in life and really starting to focus my work specifically in public safety. As I saw the emergence of social networking and its potential to affect change in industries, my hope was to leverage it to build an effective community around change in EMS. As I look back over the years, I find that while my intentions have remained resolute, the results have been skewed toward sharing news rather than building community. That is the reason I brought the idea of a “Community of Practice” to this page centered around EMS Deployment. I hope you will check it out and become part of the discussions on the future direction of EMS (or whatever it becomes.) My hope is still to build that forum of respectful community where both providers and administrators have a voice. Even though I am a relative newcomer to this field, I am a field provider like many of you. I am not an administrator, but my work also brings me closely into their world as an adviser. I hope this unique perspective not only gives me different insight, but that it inspires others in “mobile healthcare” to see things things differently in the coming year. So, here is to the prospect of a prosperous new year for all of us!

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