I was reading the March 2009 issue of Prehospital Emergency Care (for those who don't read it, it is the major peer-review journal devoted to EMS in the US).
I was excited to see, buried amongst the clinical and pseudo-clinical research abstracts, a few studies that might help us run our services better. One was a before and after study of the impact of implementing power stretchers in a large county EMS agency.
We've gt a ton of clinical research going on - the physicians see to that. But how about the non-clinical stuff? How about the questions that we seem to argue about all the time? What topics COULD be cleared up by objective analysis? What topics SHOULD be objectively studied? Do you think that a scientific or academic approach to these issues would help with executives and elected officials?
I'll suggest a couple. What I'd really like is to get a list of dozens more, that we could use to build up enthusiasm for non-clinical research in our BS and MS programs.
Does a dynamic deployment (streetcorner posting) scheme improve response performance? If you take a community and change nothing but the deployment methodology, what happens?
Are there psychological traits that predict success or failure in EMTs and paramedics? Could you give a test and figure out who is wasting their time in EMS and who is not?
Does "more paramedics" in a community mean better or worse patient care? This has both clinical and non-clinical components, but it would be nice to know if "first response paramedics" improve the performance of the EMS system or make it worse? A good answer would save a lot of angst and energy!
OK, what do you think? Operations, human resources, public information, community paramedicine, career ladder, etc., etc. Have at it!