The EMS Quality Academy is an education resource for EMS quality managers, medical directors, those coordinating systems of care for time sensitive conditions, and others interested in quality management for emergency healthcare.

The emphasis here will be on the initial training, continuing education and on-going professional development of EMS quality managers and others who have emergency care quality management responsibilities included in their job descriptions.

The Academy will also help those interested in the design, implementation, and refinement of quality management programs for EMS provider organizations, emergency-related clinical service lines in hospitals, and systems of care for time sensitive conditions.

EMS Quality Academy content (with the exception of Premium fee-based courses and services) is being offered free of charge to those with free Registered User accounts.

New courses and services in the Premium content category will be added from time to time – fees may be required.

Free Content

Web Shows

  • Quality Over Coffee (FREE) – Grab a cup of coffee and join us for brief and casual discussions on topics in EMS quality management.
  • Through the Lens of Systems (FREE) – Exploration of topics related to EMS systems and systems of care for time sensitive conditions.

Free Instructional Videos

  • Quality Tools – Run Charts (FREE) – This collection of instructional videos explains how to properly interpret run charts. (Note: These videos were originally produced as part of the ‘Through the Lens of Systems’ web show.)
    • Part 1 – Introduction to Run Charts – Knowing if performance is getting, worse, or staying about the same – it can have a big impact on management decisions. The tool that helps us understand how things are going is also one of the most important data visualization tools in the quality management toolbox – the run chart. This set of videos will explain the basic elements of a run chart and how often to add new data points. This first video in series will look at how to understand the variation you see in a run chart, and then, how to interpret the run chart to make management decisions. Duration = 8 min 9 sec
    • Part 2 – Variation and Trends – We discuss how variation is present in all processes and the two types of variation we are looking for in run chart interpretation – common cause and special cause variation. The use of run chart rules to differentiate between the two types of variation is introduced with an explanation of the run chart rule for trends. Subsequent lessons will cover the other run chart rules. Duration = 11 min. 27 sec.
    • Part 3 – Shifts – This lesson addresses the run chart rule for shifts. As an example to show how to apply the run chart rule for shifts, we look at the data from an improvement project team that’s watching their time interval data as they implement a change in their process for getting a 12 lead ECG on patients walking into the ED with chest pain. Duration = 12 min. 00 sec.
    • Part 4 – Runs – This lesson addresses the run chart rule for runs. We learn what a run is; how to count data points to determine if an actual run exists; and how to a special table of values to determine if there is evidence of special cause variation based on the frequency of runs. Duration = 5 min. 19 sec.
    • Part 5 – Outliers – This final lesson in the series addresses the run chart rule for outliers. We learn about the outlier rule and then summarize this five part series on run charts. Duration = 5 min. 0 sec.

Free Webinars

EMS and Systems of Care Webinar Series (FREE) – This series of webinars is produced in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology. These webinars may also accessed on the ACC website.

  • Composite Measures: Use and Development – Composite measures are useful tools for summarizing groups of metrics as a single metric. This webinar shows how to build composite measures based on polarity, magnitude and weighting. The example used throughout this webinar was building a basic cardiac resuscitation performance measure consisting of five process metrics – compression rate, depth, peri-shock pause, compression fraction and acquisition of a post-ROSC 12 lead ECG. This process can used to create composite measures by EMS organizations, hospitals and entire systems of care for time sensitive conditions. You’re invited to join Mic Gunderson and moderator Tom Bouthillet for this free archived webinar from the American College of Cardiology’s and the Center for Systems Improvement’s EMS and Systems of Care Webinar Series – Taking Clinical Quality to the Next Level.
  • Advanced Performance Metrics: Process Capability and the Process Capability Index – This webinar illustrates how process capability indexes contrast the reality of process performance against process specifications that have both lower and upper specifications – like too slow or fast, large or small, etc. The example used in the webinar tells the story of an ad hoc improvement project team that went through several process changes to improve their chest compression rate compliance to AHA resuscitation guidelines, which set performance specifications of between 100 and 120 compressions per minute. You’re invited to join Mic Gunderson and moderator Tom Bouthillet for this free archived webinar from the American College of Cardiology’s and the Center for Systems Improvement’s EMS and Systems of Care Webinar Series – Taking Clinical Quality to the Next Level.
  • Systems Level Measurement and Improvement – Measuring and improving performance at a systems-level has several unique challenges. In order to measure how well the system of care for a time sensitive emergency is working, we need to combine data across multiple entities. In some communities, this can get quite complex with multiple hospitals and multiple EMS agencies. It may require organizations that are direct competitors with each other to collaborate in ways they are not always comfortable with and in ways that can be both technically and logistically challenging. This webinar will identify several of these more common challenges and then offer insights and suggestions on how to overcome them. Join Mic Gunderson and Tim Phalen for this presentation and discussion. Those watching this archive recording of the webinar are encouraged to send in their questions and comments.
  • EMS STEMI Alerts: Improving Accuracy – Field diagnosis of STEMI and formally notifying hospitals with a formal EMS STEMI Alert well in advance of emergency department arrival has become a hallmark of well managed STEMI systems of care. However, many systems struggle with too many STEMI Alert overcalls and/or undercalls. This webinar will present ways to measure and improve the overall accuracy of EMS STEMI alerts with appropriate balancing of overcalls and undercalls for the best all-around outcomes. Join Mic Gunderson, Tim Phalen and Tom Bouthillet for this very useful presentation and discussion.
  • Implementing Time Sensitive Care Coalitions – This webinar challenges current approaches in the design and operation of systems of care for time sensitive conditions, such as those for STEMI, trauma, stroke, cardiac arrest and sepsis. The webinar will help you rethink how these systems are organized and then introduce the multi-condition Time Sensitive Care Coalition model.
  • Clinical Performance Requirements in EMS – A discussion of why and how to implement clinical performance requirements in EMS through contracts and service level agreements. A group of expert panelists discuss the content following the main presentation.
  • Team-Based Quality Model – The next five webinars cover the Team-Based Quality Model and how it can be applied to individual EMS and hospital organizations as well as regional systems of care consisting of multiple hospitals and EMS providers.
    • Project Teams, Charters and the Senior Management Team – Explores the use of ad hoc improvement project teams, the project charters that guide those teams, and how the senior management team approves, supports and establishes accountability for project teams and clinical specialty teams.
    • EMS Clinical Specialists – Describes the role and training of EMS Clinical Specialists and how they lead Clinical Specialty Teams.
  • Making the Leap to Improvement Science – This first webinar in the series briefly covers the history of quality, the modern industrial quality model, how healthcare has adopted that model, and how that model applies to EMS and systems of care for time sensitive conditions.

Premium Content

Online Video Courses

Currently in development, the EMS Quality Academy will be offering several online video courses for the initial training, continuing education and on-going professional development of EMS quality managers. The video lessons will include exercises to be completed by the student with spreadsheet software and other commonly available tools. Fees may be required for some classes.

EMS Quality Management – Orientation Course (now in development) – This course is designed for those new to an EMS quality manager position or to a position where management of the EMS quality program is a part of the job description. It is intended to help the EMS quality managers understand their role and be ready to start taking on basic responsibilities in managing and improving quality in their EMS organization. Upon completion of the introductory course, students will be able to:

  • Define the purpose of a quality management program in the operation of an emergency medical service.
  • Describe the role and responsibilities of an EMS quality manager.
  • Discuss the rationale behind the evolution of modern quality management programs from medieval trade guilds to current contemporary best practices.
  • Conduct an improvement project using the plan-do-study-act cycle.
  • Use the classic ‘seven basic tools’ in quality improvement projects (cause-and-effect diagrams, check sheets, control charts, histograms, Pareto charts, scatter diagrams, and flowcharts).

EMS Quality Management – Core Competencies Course (future development) – Building on content from the Orientation Course, this course is designed to help EMS quality managers prepare to take on a full range of responsibilities in designing and managing an EMS quality program.

Advanced Topics in Quality Management and Systems of Care (future development) – EMS quality managers and others healthcare professionals working in support of systems of care for time sensitive conditions will explore more sophisticated concepts, tools, and techniques for improving the quality, efficiency and value of EMS services, EMS systems, systems of care for time sensitive conditions, and multi-condition time sensitive care coalitions.

Document Archive

The EMS Quality Academy document archives provide a variety of documents of interest to those in quality, systems of care, research, and general management.

EMS Management Journal

The EMS Management Journal was published in 2004 by HealthAnalytics in collaboration with the National EMS Management Association, the National Association of State EMS Directors and the National Association of EMS Educators. More information, articles, and complete issues are accessible here.

Tampa Bay EMS Journal / Journal of Prehospital Medicine

The Tampa Bay EMS Journal was the first peer-reviewed journal for EMS. It began publication in 1987. After just 4 issues, it became a national publication – the Journal of Prehospital Medicine. More information, articles, and complete issues are accessible here.