Response time as a sole performance indicator in EMS: Pitfalls and solutions
Sultan Zayed Khalifah Al-Shaqsi
Preventive and Social Medicine Department, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand
Abstract: Response time (RT) has been liberally used as a process indicator to assess emergency medical services (EMS) performance around the world. It is objective, quantifiable, and easily understood by the public and policymakers alike. However, its correlation to better patient outcome is yet to be established. The evidence supporting the value of using RT is mostly lacking and the little existing evidence is conflicting. There is a concern that the RT notion is dominating the professional culture of ambulance providers. Quality of patient care is becoming a secondary target to RT. Solutions to shorten RT of ambulance services have prohibitive costs and risk the safety of patients, attending crew and the public. It is time to consider patient outcome as the main standard for performance of EMS in order to meet the public expectation of accountability and openness.
Keywords: performance, ambulance, EMS, response time, outcome
This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.Download Article [PDF]