The National EMS Advisory Council published a white paper: EMS Makes a Difference | Improved clinical outcomes and downstream healthcare savings in December 2009. This document is rather impressive and demonstrates a number of items.
From the paper’s Introduction:
Does EMS make a difference? Do prehospital interventions really improve patient outcomes? Can timely care provided in the prehospital setting lead to reduced total healthcare expenditures? After more than fifty years of prehospital care provided by EMS systems in the United States and associated scientific research, there now exists a sufficient body of scientific evidence to answer this question with an unequivocal YES.
Evidence-based medicine has become the standard for change in healthcare. As healthcare systems become increasingly data-driven, the efficacy and usefulness of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has come under increased scrutiny. The challenge facing EMS today is to affect a system-wide transformation from practices based on tradition and expert opinion to adoption of national guidelines and protocols that have been developed through a rigorous examination of the scientific evidence and a systematic guideline development process. The growing body of research in prehospital care has reached a critical mass and there now exists a sufficient evidence base to scientifically evaluate the efficacy of select interventions. This paper reviews the literature documenting the efficacy of prehospital care and its resulting impact on patient outcomes and healthcare finance.