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Setting the Standard for Excellence in Emergency Care

Delaware County EMS (DCEMS), a leading third-service EMS agency in Ohio, has emerged as a beacon of innovation in the rapidly growing region north of Columbus. Known for their commitment to excellence and dedication to providing the highest quality pre-hospital emergency care, DCEMS has been at the forefront of implementing responsible, evidence-based practices to meet the evolving needs of their community. The agency's focus on ensuring the best possible outcomes for their patients has driven them to seek external accreditation, a testament to their commitment to excellence. 

In 2012, DCEMS achieved its first accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS). During their most recent review, CAAS surveyors conducted a comprehensive evaluation of all operational and clinical components of DCEMS. This rigorous assessment involved policy reviews and interviews with members at all levels of the department. It is a noteworthy accomplishment that DCEMS not only received full accreditation through 2022 but also did so with zero deficiencies, an exceptional achievement that showcases their dedication. 

CAAS accreditation is highly regarded within the EMS community and has been obtained by only 192 other agencies across the United States and Canada, with a mere five in Ohio. DCEMS stands proudly among these elite agencies, setting a benchmark to which others can aspire. The accreditation process serves as an external validation of DCEMS' commitment to maintaining the highest standards of care and continually improving their operations. 

One area where DCEMS has excelled is in their commitment to training and education. The agency's Training Captain spearheaded the creation of an in-house simulation lab, which has gained national recognition and garnered attention from educational and EMS organizations alike. The simulation lab provides a unique training experience, with employees from the Chief down to the newest EMT participating in quarterly simulations on a wide range of topics. These simulations are driven by the agency's Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) process, ensuring that providers stay up to date with the latest practices and are prepared for any situation. As a testament to their dedication, DCEMS goes above and beyond traditional offerings by providing card courses, online CEUs, and the simulation lab, equipping their team with the skills and knowledge necessary to deliver exceptional care. 

To further enhance their educational program, DCEMS recently implemented the Shift Clinical Educator program. Led by two Clinical Captains, this program focuses on providing hands-on, in-station training directly to providers. Paramedics closely collaborate with the clinical team to deliver monthly education and training sessions, targeting areas for improvement identified through the CQI process. These sessions provide clear objectives and goals, empowering providers to expand their knowledge base and enhance their skills. Attendees receive CEU credits for their participation, ensuring ongoing professional development and certification. 

In addition to their commitment to excellence in emergency medical services, DCEMS has forged a strong partnership with the Delaware County Sheriff's Office (DCSO). Together, they are addressing the unique challenges faced by patients with substance abuse disorders and mental health issues. Recognizing the need for comprehensive data to understand the full picture and develop effective interventions, DCSO collaborated with DCEMS to create a data gathering tool. This tool enables all police, fire, and law enforcement agencies in the county to submit clean and anonymous data, contributing to the Stepping Up initiative. The initiative aims to keep individuals with these conditions out of jail or the hospital by providing targeted support and resources. To ensure the data is accurately analyzed, an epidemiologist from the Delaware Public Health District has offered her expertise, facilitating evidence-based decision-making and the development of a comprehensive plan. The ultimate goal is to gather a comprehensive dataset from all public safety agencies in Delaware County, implement the plan, review the results, and publish the process in an academic journal, ensuring knowledge sharing and best practices across the field. 

Delaware County EMS exemplifies excellence and innovation in the field of emergency medical services. Their unwavering commitment to quality care, continuous improvement, and collaboration with partners like the Delaware County Sheriff's Office sets them apart as a trailblazer in the industry. As they strive to meet the ever-evolving needs of their community, DCEMS remains a shining example of what can be achieved when dedication, innovation, and a passion for service converge. 

DCEMS were finalists for ImageTrend’s 2023 Hooley Awards in the Innovation category. The Hooley Awards recognize innovators and thought leaders, honoring their involvement, creativity, and passion, and were founded to acknowledge their contributions in innovation and excellence. The Hooley Awards finalists were celebrated, and the winners were announced during the 15th annual ImageTrend Connect Conference in July 2023.

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