2019 EMS Trends to Watch

The EMS industry seems to have different trends constantly—new technologies and improved techniques bombard you on what seems like a daily basis. In 2019, these trends appear to have a deeper focus on the EMS system as a whole and the ultimate goal of improving the system and focusing on the patient. Let’s look at a few EMS trends to watch in 2019 and how they can impact you and your practice.


1.National EMS scope of practice model

The National EMS Scope of Practice Model—known simply as the “Practice Model”— is a collaborative project by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This joint effort has an ultimate goal of implementing the EMS Agenda for the Future—known as the “EMS Agenda.”


The overall theme of the Practice Model is creating a nationwide EMS system that is community-based and seamlessly integrated with community health care services.

The Practice Model has had recent revisions, focusing on topics that are considered high-priority issues in EMS today. These include:


  • Allowing all levels of EMS providers to administer Naloxone for opioid overdoses.
  • Implementing therapeutic hypothermia for patients with cardiac arrest.
  • Allowing all levels of EMS providers to administer pharmacological pain management in patients suffering an acute traumatic event.
  • Improving prehospital hemorrhage control techniques.
  • Using CPAP and BiPAP at the EMT level.


Although these issues have not been universally implemented nationwide, they are high-priority issues that you and your department should be watching during the next year for changes to your department’s policies and procedures.


2. Naloxone evidence-based guidelines

The opioid epidemic in the United States is devastating and impacts all races, genders, and ages. Prehospital administration of naloxone, an opioid antagonist, is key to reversing the CNS depressant effects of opioids.


With the increasing rates of opioid overdose, access to naloxone has also increased. Not only are prehospital providers armed with naloxone, but access within the community at various outlets has increased as well in an effort to prevent deaths associated with opioid overdoses.


Despite access to naloxone, for a long time, there were no evidence-based guidelines for its administration. This recently changed with the development of evidence-based guidelines for the administration of naloxone—a collaborative effort brought about by the NHTSA, HRSA, and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s EMS for Children Program (EMSC).


This recently developed guideline may or may not have already reached your department. Either way, be on the lookout for this standard of care to help you in your fight against the opioid crisis.


3. Improved EMS equipment and technology 

Innovations in both equipment and technology are more trends that are here to stay. Improved communication using advanced technology is a hot topic that appears to be gaining speed with implementation. The National 911 Program is developing a Next Generation 911 system that allows states to integrate their 911 systems, creating one seamless system that updates outdated technology and equipment.

Equipment does improve over time.  Recently a new technique for suction during resuscitation, Suction Assisted Laryngoscopy and Airway Decontaminatin (SALAD) has been develop.  Performed with a specially designed large bore catheter in enhances the caregivers ability to manage the soiled airway.


Trends That Are Here to Stay

2019 brings new trends to the EMS community. This year, there is a call to action for improving the EMS system as a whole—examining its processes, implementing evidence-based guidelines, focusing on patient-centered care, and improving equipment and technology to better serve the public.