Spotlight on EMS Compass at NASEMSO Fall Meeting

State Officials Hear Lessons Learned, Next Steps for Performance Measure Initiative

LOUISVILLE, Ky.–Following a year of intense work, the EMS Compass initiative held a town hall meeting at the NASEMSO fall conference in Louisville on October 14. The initiative, a cooperative agreement between NASEMSO and NHTSA’s Office of EMS, was created to develop a process for designing performance measures that would help EMS systems’ efforts to improve patient care and operations.

At the meeting, Bob Bass, MD, Chair of the EMS Compass Steering Committee, updated the audience on the initiative’s status, acknowledging the work of nearly 50 volunteers who have provided their time and expertise in this critical effort. The Steering Committee and work groups are currently considering developing performance measures in several areas, including clinical conditions such as stroke, STEMI, cardiac arrest, seizures and trauma, as well as others such as safety and population health. The Steering Committee will prioritize the measures and release those that will be most helpful to local agencies in their efforts to continuously improve patient care.

Performance measures related to stroke care were released in July for public comment and reviewed by the Steering Committee. Based on the comments and feedback, the stroke measures are being revised and will be released again in the next several weeks for public comment.

“The review process worked as designed,” said Dr. Bass. “While one of our goals is to develop a small set of core measures, the most important result of EMS Compass will be the creation of a sustainable process to thoroughly and thoughtfully design and test measures for use by the EMS community.”

Dr. Bass addressed some misperceptions about the initiative and reemphasized three basic messages for state officials and the EMS Community:

  • EMS Compass performance measures are being created to improve patient care.
  • A fundamental goal of the initiative is to create a road map for the process of creating and testing performance measures now and into the future.
  • The EMS Compass initiative is following an approach to performance measure development that is currently used by the National Quality Forum (NQF) and which is widely accepted in the healthcare community. We will not, however, be submitting EMS performance measures to the NQF.

Dr. Bass also noted that the long-term viability of EMS Compass and the measures depends on the support and engagement of the entire EMS community. He encouraged and welcomed other national, state and local organizations to work with NASEMSO to ensure that this vital initiative continues to improve patient care long into the future.

Dr. Bass directed audience members to the EMS Compass website for more information, and specifically suggested they visit to learn more about the aims of the EMS Compass initiative.

The next Steering Committee is scheduled for Jan. 13 in San Diego, California.



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