Abstract

Community paramedicine (CP) uses emergency medical services (EMS) providers to help rural communities increase access to primary care and public health services. This study examined goals, activities, and outcomes of 31 rural-serving CP programs through structured interviews of program leaders and document review. Common goals included managing chronic disease (90.3%); and reducing emergency department visits (83.9%), hospital admissions/readmissions (83.9%), and costs (83.9%). Target populations included the chronically ill (90.3%), post-hospital discharge patients (80.6%), and frequent EMS users (64.5%). Community paramedicine programs engaged in bi-directional referrals most often with primary care facilities (67.7%), hospitals (54.8%), and home health (38.7%). Programs provided assessment, testing, preventive care, and post-discharge services. Reported outcomes were promising, but few programs used rigorous evaluation methods. Rural-serving CP programs provided services to shift costs to less expensive settings and provide appropriate care where vulnerable patients live, but more evidence is needed that care is safe, effective, and economical.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-6869
Print ISSN
1049-2089
Pages
pp. 144-158
Launched on MUSE
2016-11-02
Open Access
No
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