EMS Data Use By Public Health Agencies

Thank you for your interest in learning how FirstWatch customers help their local Public Health folks with EMS data using FirstWatch. Here are links to videos, articles, and other information that we hope you will find useful, showing how EMS data and FirstWatch have been used for situational awareness, disasters, special events, etc. If you’re interested, we can also send some information about our ability to help EMS organizations in other ways, including population health, frequent users/hot spots, overdoses, our recent national Ebola monitoring, etc.

We know that you’re very busy, and realize that you may not have time to look at all of these items, but to make the most of the time you can spend, we’ve listed them below in the order that folks seem to find the most useful. We suggest starting with the three videos below, which will take 6 and half minutes to view them all, and then if you are interested in how EMS and it’s data can help with Opioid Overdoses, check out the Health Intelligence section of our website. Finally, look at the documents as numbered and described below, with #1 and #2 probably being the most authoritative regarding the combination of EMS Data and FirstWatch, since they were both written by outside Public Health folks, with no input from FirstWatch (in fact we didn’t know either was being written until they were released.)

First, we recommend viewing three short videos (each is only 2 minutes and 30 seconds):

A short (2:30) animated video explaining what FirstWatch does for Public Safety agencies:
A news clip (2:30) about one of our customers — Minneapolis implementation of FirstWatch:
Then, you’ll find another quick clip (1:36) at the link below which shows how Public Safety, Homeland Security and Public Health teams in New Orleans used FirstWatch during the Super Bowl, and every day for real-time situational awareness & data surveillance:

In addition, we’ve created a FirstWatch Intelligence Community page on our website that provides EMS specific updates of emerging health issues. You can visit that page at:
One of the sections you will find on the Health Intelligence page is Opioids and Overdoses:
Currently a hot topic in the EMS community, this page provides many opioid related resources. Among them, you will find our recommendations for mining EMS data for opioid overdoses:

We’ve been working with local and regional public health folks since 1998, so we have a lot of material on our website to look over, but since there is so much, we wanted to direct your attention to a smaller batch of documents, which are a little more easily ‘digested’.

1-CDC MMWR vol59 no21.pdf is an excerpt from a CDC MMWR issue, with especially pertinent sections highlighted.

2-State of FL Epi Update September.pdf has an article (starting on page 5) written for the Florida State Epi newsletter, by Public Health EPIs in Pinellas County, Florida.

We’ve included a summary of some benefits of using 9-1-1/EMS data for public health surveillance (3-Top 10 reasons to use 911 data.pdf), and also included one of the referenced documents (4-NHTSA PanFlu Preparedness Appendix C.pdf), which is part of a US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration document for the National Association of State EMS Officials on preparing for Pandemic Influenza. The case studies referenced in this document are from FirstWatch customers.

We recommend 2 poster presentations: The first (5-APHA Poster.pdf) was given at an American Public Health Association (APHA) conference regarding Carbon Monoxide poisonings during an ice storm in Oklahoma. The second is an abstract (6-ISDS Poster.pdf) for a presentation given at a syndromic surveillance conference on the topic of using Real-time EMS events as surrogate events in syndromic surveillance. Another case study is for one of the events mentioned in the abstract: 7-Pepper Spray Case Study.pdf, which explains the event in more detail.

The two downloadable PowerPoints are files that used for a presentation at the 2013 International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS: www.syndromic.org) conference in New Orleans: 8-Stout EMS Data for PreCon ISDS.pptx is the main presentation, and the 9-MMWR to FirstWatch PSAN.ppt is the file linked to within the main presentation that shows an anecdotal look at charts comparing hospital physician and lab data compared to EMS dispatch data after some big wildfires here in San Diego. (FYI, the anecdotal PowerPoint is a set of builds that work best when viewed in presentation mode, so the file is best viewed in full-screen presentation mode when you open it.)

Finally, we suggest a document (10-FirstWatch Super Bowl XLVII – Event Monitoring.pdf) that we used to help New Orleans folks prepare for the 2013 Super Bowl as mentioned in the second video link above, and used a variation of it for the 2014 Super Bowl in New Jersey.

Thank you for your interest and time!