Evidence-based medicine (EBM) has been in practice in hospital settings since at least 1991. EBM uses the scientific method to organize and apply current data to improve health care decisions.
Despite its ubiquitous usage in health care, it is relatively new to prehospital care.
That needs to change.
So says David Vitberg, MD, assistant medical director for fire and EMS in Washington, D.C. Vitberg, who is also the medical director for Recert, says it only makes sense for EMTs, paramedics, and firefighters to leverage evidence-based medicine as part of their training.
Watch his full interview:
“EMS is a critical part, and should be a seamless component, of the health care and patient-experience continuum,” he says.
Vitberg goes on to say that EBM is starting to take hold in the prehospital care community. The challenge is one of culture.
“A lot of what we do in EMS is based on, ‘That’s the way we’ve done it for years,’” he says. “Unfortunately, those cultural historical practices may be wrong.”
Vitberg says it’s important that we look at the best evidence with how prehospital care is practiced.
This is where Recert comes in. For EMTs, AEMTs, paramedics, firefighters and others prehospital practitioners, Recert is not only good for attaining necessary recertifications, but also to brush up on needed skills that align closely with health care delivery being practiced in a hospital setting.
These evidence-based best practices extend to the latest information and coursework on how to manage a patient’s airway, how to resuscitate a critically ill patient or even lower acuity problems.
Continuing Education Without the Classroom
When it comes to any form of continuing education, Vitberg says EMTs and other busy prehospital providers struggle to find time to get into a classroom or other instructional setting. Of course, the health care staffing shortages plaguing the industry aren’t helping matters.
Vitberg says the Recert platform is perfect for on-the-job public safety officials.
“Our units are out there busy, responding to emergencies,” he says. “We need an efficient way to deliver evidence-based prehospital-medicine content.”
Recert content can be consumed by emergency responders at any time of day. Vitberg adds that working prehospital health care providers can get a course done on their schedule.
“If the system quiets down at, say, 3 a.m., and you have insomnia like I do, you could watch a module on oxygenation or ventilation, or care of a behavioral health patient,” he says.
Staying Up to Date on Prehospital Care
Prehospital providers need to stay up to date on the latest practices. Vitberg says Recert content is continuously vetted for the latest best practices that are at the top of the national conversation in EMS.
As an example, the Recert Editorial Board recently discussed development of modules on blood transfusion in the field as well as treatment of delirium and behavioral emergencies as well as learnings on advanced heart failure.
It is likely that a prehospital professional can find what they need on the Recert platform and will have the time to complete lessons all in service of becoming a better practitioner.
“Recert, by virtue of the huge catalog of offerings and asynchronous learning platform, allows practitioners to stay up to date using the most up-to-date evidence-based practices,” Vitberg says.
Now that EMS continuing education explores a range of topics and is quicker than ever to access from anywhere, we're seeing more opportunities for EMS professionals' knowledge base to continue growing and diversify throughout their careers. Sign up for Recert and get 1-year of unlimited access to CAPCE-approved continuing education courses.
About the Author:
Dr. David Vitberg earned his medical degree from the Upstate University College of Medicine in Syracuse, New York and completed his combined Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Maryland Medical System. Post-residency, Dr. Vitberg completed a fellowship in Critical Care Medicine at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Today, Dr. Vitberg is the Deputy Medical Director for Baltimore County Fire Department, a member of the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center GO-TEAM, and Division Chief for Medical and Surgical Critical Care Medicine at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Dr. Vitberg is triple-board certified in Critical Care, Emergency Medicine, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS).