NorthStar EMS provides EMS services to 7 counties throughout Central Alabama with over 295 operational team members. Travel time from our corporate headquarters in Tuscaloosa to our outlying operations ranges from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Our Medical Director, Elwin Crawford, M.D., works hard to make himself available to our team members and especially our management team as necessary. However, with all his responsibilities, he is limited in having “face time” with our field staff in these outlying counties. (It is important to note that Dr. Crawford is also the State of Alabama’s EMS Medical Director as well as the Medical Director for the Emergency Department at Druid City Hospital (DCH) in Tuscaloosa.) While introduced in orientation to our new team members, the fact was that Dr. Crawford was limited in his ability to interact with field crews and personally address some of their questions/issues. As a prior Paramedic that worked his way through medical school, Dr. Crawford had a unique perspective on EMS and a sincere desire to communicate with our staff as much as possible.
In this day of social media, NorthStar EMS believed that we had a platform that could help us get EMS medical information out to our team. We’d have an extra added benefit of this information being shared with other EMS professionals as well. None of the information that we would present would be proprietary. We worked with Dr. Crawford to create a forum for enhancing his ability to interact with our Team. Our program was to be called, “NEMS Medical Minutes.”
1. Create an initial list of pertinent EMS topics that were important to our field staff.
2. Coordinate and video-tape Dr. Crawford addressing EMS topics from a Medical Director perspective.
3. Provide a mechanism for team members to ask questions and/or offer ideas for discussion topics.
4. NEMS Medical Minutes will be posted to Facebook and Twitter.
Planning & Implementation
Initially, EMS topics were identified through our ongoing CQI processes and by asking our management team what areas they believed needed to be addressed from a clinical perspective. These topics were presented to Dr. Crawford, and based on his assessment, we identified key areas that he believed important to address.
Dates were scheduled for video-taping. It was decided that we’d try several approaches to how the taping would occur, i.e., should we use an interview format vs. just a single person discussion of the topic?
We identified in-house personnel who demonstrated knowledge in video-taping and editing techniques.
To manage time, whenever we schedule taping dates, we try to record a minimum of 6 EMS topics so that we are positioned to continuously post NEMS Medical Minutes every few weeks.
Our first video posting would occur by October 11, 2018.
Since implementation, NorthStar EMS has produced 19 “NEMS Medical Minutes” segments that have been posted to Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/NorthStarEMS/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/NorthStar_EMS). Our Facebook page averages approximately 975 hits with our highest segment reaching 2,454 hits. These number of views do not include views due to others sharing individual posts. Twitter posts produce an average of 575 hits with our highest being 1,867 for a single segment. Between both social media platforms, we average 1,520 views per segment.
Our field crews are much more aware of Dr. Crawford and his opinions on the EMS topics we’ve covered. This is measured in two ways: 1) Monitoring Facebook Insights and reactions to the posts and 2) asking our team members what they thought about the most recent topic presented.
Additionally, the State of Alabama, Office of EMS also shares the NEMS Medical Minutes on their social media accounts. Not only are we helping our team members, but we have created a venue to get pertinent medical information out to all the EMS agencies in the state under the auspices of NorthStar EMS. This has reinforced our commitment to enhancing the delivery of EMS not only to the communities we serve, but the entire state.
Lastly, new employees are pleased to see that our Medical Director is actively involved in their daily work practices. This has created an environment where team members are comfortable approaching Dr. Crawford thus enhancing employee engagement.
This project was coordinated with salaried personnel.
There has been no cost in implementing and continuing NEMS Medical Minutes.