Evaluating state capacity to collect and analyze emergency medical services data

Michael Ely, Lisa K. Hyde, Amy Donaldson, Ron Furnival, N. Clay Mann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background. Centralized emergency medical services (EMS) data collection is critical to evaluating EMS system effectiveness, yet a general lack of EMS data persists at local, state, and national levels. Objective. To assess state capacity to collect, analyze, and utilize EMS data. Methods. Information was gathered through state site visits and surveys from 54 states and U.S. territories in spring 2003 regarding EMS data-collection systems. Survey results were used to create 11 broad indicators that assess state data system infrastructure, collection methods, compliance with data standards, and data uses. Results. States and territories on average met 59% of the EMS data system indicators, with four states meeting all 11 indicators and two states meeting none. Seventy-six percent of the states reported having state-level EMS data-collection systems, and 78% reported having authority to collect EMS data. However, most state EMS data sets were not capturing information on all EMS incidents, and only 46% of the states had data dictionaries containing at least three-fourths of nationally recommended EMS data elements. In addition, only 33% of the states had linked EMS data with other health data sets to analyze EMS system operations and patient outcomes. Conclusion. While EMS data systems exist in the majority of states, continued attention and resources are needed for state-level EMS data system development to improve capacity for evaluation of emergency medical services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-20
Number of pages7
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by a cooperative agreement (#59000530) from the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Rockville, Maryland.


  • Communication systems
  • Data collection
  • Data systems
  • Emergency medical services
  • Standards
  • States


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