Prehospital Medicine Research


Goals & Description

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are an essential component of the public health and public safety systems. Historically, EMS practice has been based on hospital practice or perceived best practices from the field. Our research focuses on evidence-based practice for EMS personnel, evaluation of EMS system components and the motivations, decision-making and expertise of the EMS workforce.

Ongoing Projects

Prehospital Triage of Older Adults with Injuries

We are leading and participating in a number of federally funded projects to better understand how older adults with traumatic injuries are cared for and triaged by EMS providers.  The projects include:

  1. Evaluating the classification accuracy of the Field Triage Decision Scheme in younger vs. older patients;
  2. Deriving an older adult specific Field Triage Decision Scheme;
  3. Describing and optimizing the process used by EMS providers to identify older patients with traumatic brain injury.

Findings from these studies have the potential to shift clinical practice in the prehospital setting by informing future recommendations for the triage of injured older adults.

Study of EMS Findings Predictive of PediatricTrauma Center Need

To determine the predictive value of the 1999 and 2006 FIeld Triage Criteria in determining pediatric trauma center need.

Lear more about the Pediatric Trauma project

Geriatric Emergency Medical Services Use

To describe the epidemiology of the population of older adults presenting to the ED and provide preliminary information regarding the impact of an acute illness upon screening for depression and cognitive impairment.

Learn more about the EMS Use project

Community Paramedicine for Older Adults

For over 10 years we have been investigating the use of prehospital emergency medical technicians and paramedics to screen older adults who have unmet medical and psychosocial needs. Through funding from the NIH, HRSA, and foundations, we have evaluated the feasibility, acceptability, and validity of prehospital screening. We have developed and sustained a prehospital program to screen and refer older EMS patients with needs. We are currently developing new community paramedicine programs and working to evaluate them.

Recent Publications

Lerner EB, Willenbring BD, Pirrallo RG, Brasel KJ, Cady C, Colella MR, Cooper A, Cushman J, Gourlay D, Jurkovich G, Newgard C, Salomone J, Sasser S, Shah MN, Swor R, Wang S.  A consensus-based criterion standard for trauma center need.  Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.  2014 Apr;76(4):1157-63.

Lerner EB, Roberts J, Guse C, Shah MN, Swor R, Cushman JT, Blatt A, Jurkovich G, Brasel K.  Does EMS-perceived anatomic injury predict trauma center need?  Prehosp Emerg Care. 2013;15(4):518-25. NIHMS459716.

Archive Publications

(Click for more publications)


Source Type Description
CDC R01 Study of EMS Findings predictive of Pediatric Trauma Center Need (Multi-Site, MCW Primary)
CDC U01 Field triage of Older Adults Who Experience Brain Injury
NIH/NIA R03 Deriving a Prehospital Triage Decision Scheme for Injured Older Adults
SAEM   Institutional Research Training Grant