Hospital collaboration with emergency medical services in the care of patients with acute myocardial infarction: perspectives from key hospital staff

Ann Emerg Med. 2013 Feb;61(2):185-95. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2012.10.009. Epub 2012 Nov 10.


Study objective: Evidence suggests that active collaboration between hospitals and emergency medical services (EMS) is significantly associated with lower acute myocardial infarction mortality rates; however, the nature of such collaborations is not well understood. We seek to characterize views of key hospital staff about collaboration with EMS in the care of patients hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction.

Methods: We performed an exploratory analysis of qualitative data previously collected from site visits and detailed interviews with 11 US hospitals that ranked in the top or bottom 5% of performance on 30-day risk-standardized acute myocardial infarction mortality rates, using Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services data from 2005 to 2007. We selected all codes from the previous analysis in which EMS was most likely to have been discussed. A multidisciplinary team analyzed the data with the constant comparative method to generate recurrent themes.

Results: Both higher- and lower-performing hospitals reported that EMS is critical to the provision of timely care for patients with acute myocardial infarction. However, close collaborative relationships with EMS were more apparent in the higher-performing hospitals, which demonstrated specific investment in and attention to EMS through respect for EMS as valued professionals and colleagues, strong communication and coordination with EMS and active engagement of EMS in hospital acute myocardial infarction quality improvement efforts.

Conclusion: Hospital staff from higher-performing hospitals described broad, multifaceted strategies to support collaboration with EMS in providing acute myocardial infarction care. The association of these strategies with hospital performance should be tested quantitatively in a larger representative study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital* / organization & administration
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Hospitals / standards
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction / mortality
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy*
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Patient Care Team / statistics & numerical data
  • Physicians
  • Quality of Health Care
  • United States