M.P.H. Graduate Wins Grand Prize at National Conference
Michael Dulitz, UND M.P.H. '17, earned the Grand Prize in the Solutions Category at the National EMS and Care Conference. Michael's presentation was titled "Addressing Preventable Emergency Department Utilization: The Results of a Community Paramedic Pilot Program."
Introduction: Community Paramedicine (CP) is a community-based healthcare delivery model which utilizes paramedics address gaps in chronic illness management, post-discharge follow-up, or frequent emergency department (ED) utilization. CP has also been growing its role in public and community health. The Essentia Health Community Paramedic program was established in 2014 to address health care gaps identified as a part of the organization’s work towards becoming an Accountable Care Organization.
Methods: After IRB and privacy department approval, a de-identified data set with visit data, demographics, and services rendered was obtained covering community paramedic visits between October 2014 and June 2016. A total of 216 clients were served in 1,210 client encounters. The primary outcome was the number of ED visits 12 weeks and 6 months before and after the initial community paramedic visit. Full data was available for 184 clients.
Results: A wide demographic of clients from a variety of referral sources were served. There was an overall reduction in ED utilization among this group of clients. Among all clients, there was a 44.4% decrease in ED visits at 12 weeks and a 28.4% decrease in ED visits at 6 months. Among frequent ED utilizers (≥3 ED visits/6 months), there was a significant median reduction at 12 weeks (1 visit reduction) and at 6 months (2 visit reduction).
Conclusions: Among individuals receiving CP services, there was a reduction in ED visits, especially among frequent ED users. Causation and association cannot be determine but initial results are promising.