I was having a conversation with my partner at work the other day, when discussing my new endeavors with this blog. He suggested talking about 911 System Abuse. Its been a topic that has been a lot more difficult to write about than I originally thought it would be. It is very easy to say that 911 is supposed to be used for emergency purposes only, but how do we define an “emergency.” The majority of you that are reading this are trained professionals. We have years of experience behind us to guide our thinking. We see what works, and we see what doesn’t. A major problem that we are starting to see is the use of Emergency Services as sources for primary care. Now, when I say problem…it is not the public’s fault per say. This tends to come form the mentality of passing the buck, Oh your PCP can’t see you today, but you are slightly “short of breath” because you have a URI or growing PNA. Just call 911 and they will take care of you in the emergency room. It gets very frustrating when you see people being pawned off on the emergency rooms by their doctors. What the hell is the point of having a primary care doctor if they don’t provide medical attention to you.
My next question to you is, can this issue actually be solved? Obviously you can educate doctors on how they should be sending people to the ER, you could mandate them to extend office hours, and get all “big brother” on the care that they are giving, but that wont solve a thing. In fact that will probably make things a lot worse. I’m gonna propose an idea. If you don’t like it, that’s fine your entitled to your opinion. I think we should take a look at our colleagues in blue, Let’s look at the “Community Policing Model.” For those of you who don’t know, community policing allows for officers to be assigned to regular sections of a city or town and they get to know the residents in that area to build connections between residents and PD. The reason is so that people will not be so afraid to contribute information during an investigation.
Now keep the skeleton ideology of that model in mind. Let’s take staff (most likely form the clinical services/education section) and go out into our communities and educate the public about their health. Yes, they do have primary care to do that but it seems that its not as affective. If we hold regular clinics (BP checks, Blood Sugar Checks, Weight Checks etc) This allows us to really connect with the community we serve on a much deeper level. You will get to know your patients as if they were your neighbors. Having this connection will then allow us to educate them on what truly is an emergency, and what isn’t.
Do not get me wrong, I am not advocating for the decreased use of EMS. When you actually have an emergency the EMT’s and Paramedics are the ones you want coming to help. This is more gained towards the people that we see on a daily basis with a lot of your BLS Priority 3 type complaints.
At the end of the day, this may have just all been wasted typing. When you call 911 you get a transport, end of story. People are going to do what they want, but let’s face it…I had to try. Feel free to leave some comments and get a discussion going about this. It’s something I am curious to see if it would actually be effective in busy, overrun EMS systems. Take care everyone, until next time!.