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EMS Agenda for the Future (1996)


The EMS Agenda for the Future is a strategic plan and needs assessment to guide the development of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) into the twenty-first century. The Agenda examines what has been learned during the past three decades and creates a vision for the future of EMS. This vision comes at a time, when agencies, organizations, and individuals who affect EMS are evaluating their role in the context of a rapidly evolving health care system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Health Resources and Services Administration, together with the National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Directors and the National Association of EMS Physicians and others, realized the need to develop an EMS Agenda for the Future. This document is a guide for EMS providers, health care organizations and institutions, government agencies, and policy makers.

The development of the vision included the appointment of a steering committee, representing a cross-section of the EMS community, the scheduling of focus groups and the distribution of the draft document to some 500 interested EMS organizations and individuals for extensive peer review. A Blue Ribbon Conference held in December 1995 brought the EMS community together to finalize the vision for the future.

The EMS Agenda for the Future serves as guidance for EMS providers, health care organizations and institutions, governmental agencies, and policy makers. All must be committed to improving the health of their communities and to ensuring that EMS efficiently contributes to that goal. They must invest the resources necessary to provide the nations population with emergency health care that is reliably accessible, effective, subject to continuous evaluation, and integrated with the remainder of the health system.

As EMS systems continue to look for ways of delivering emergency critical care in a more cost effective and efficient manner, there are several initiatives that should be considered to strengthen the EMS team. These include:

  • Expand the role of EMS in public health and prevention.

  • Involve EMS in community health monitoring.

  • Integrate EMS with other health care providers and provider networks.

  • Be cognizant of the special needs of the entire population.

The Vision

Emergency medical services (EMS) of the future will be community-based health management that is fully integrated with the overall health care system. It will have the ability to identify and modify illness and injury risks, provide acute illness and injury care and follow-up, and contribute to the treatment of chronic conditions and community health monitoring. This new entity will be developed from redistribution of existing health care resources and will be integrated with other health care providers and public health and public safety agencies. It will improve community health and result in more appropriate use of acute health care resources. EMS will remain the publicís emergency medical safety net.

To read the complete document click here.


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