Online Program

Community Paramedic Program Effects on Population Health

Monday, November 2, 2015

Wesley Dempsey, NREMT-P, BS EMS, Department of Population Health Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic and State University: Public Health Program, Blacksburg, VA
Chronic illnesses like diabetes, asthma, and COPD are a costly burden for both patients and the healthcare system. The purpose of a community health paramedic program is to use experienced healthcare professionals to help teach patients about their illness and help continue regular treatments prescribed by their physician outside of the hospital. Routine checkups ensure a number of things including that diabetics regularly check their glucose levels, asthmatics know how to properly using their inhaler, or even post-operation patients understand their treatment plans. We anticipate that the introduction of a community health paramedic program will have a positive impact on community health by decreasing number of hospital visits due to chronic illnesses, and by increasing overall health awareness within the community. Implementing the program entails identifying patients within the population that access emergent medical services regularly (typically identified as accessing services 4 or more times a year) to enroll in the program, and also building relationships with local physicians and hospitals to identify patients that might be at a higher risk of injury. Ideally this program will decrease the number of non-emergent calls for rescue services, and also decrease community healthcare costs by keeping patients with chronic illnesses healthy and out of the hospital. This research will provide valuable insight into the ability to increase community health and decrease healthcare costs in rural communities through established EMS systems.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Assess the effectiveness of community paramedic programs in improving community health Identify gaps in healthcare delivery in rural Virginia, and the opportunities for community paramedics to address these gaps Demonstrate disease prevention benefits from utilizing paramedics to increase clinical understanding and health promotion within the community

Keyword(s): Emergency Medical Services, Community-Based Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Public Health Master's Student as well as Nationally Registered Paramedic (NREMT-P) working in rural Virginia for a volunteer EMS service that is near to introducing a community paramedic program. I encountered the idea of community paramedic programs as a way to increase community health while completing my degree in EMS. I have also previously done research on similar programs and their effects as a part of my senior EMS portfolio.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.