Community Paramedicine Brings Emergency Care into Patients’ Homes, Could Increase Clinical Laboratory Specimens Collected In These Settings

Pathologists and clinical laboratories should be watching for the arrival of community paramedicine programs in their communities

Studies reveal that a sizeable proportion of 911 medical emergency calls result in an ambulance ride and emergency room visit for a medical condition that is relatively simple and not truly urgent. Recognizing this fact, some innovative health systems are creating a mobile “emergency room” service that can go to the patient’s home, provide appropriate care, and save the time and costs of the ambulance transport and emergency room (ER) visit.

This care model is being called “community paramedicine.” Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers should see this as a new example of how the traditional provision of healthcare services is being rethought. The goal is to combine modern workflow redesign techniques with new information technologies (IT) and medical laboratory tests to improve patient care while eliminating unnecessary cost.

The concept of bringing the ER to the patient’s home is consistent with the US medical industry’s shift toward offsite healthcare, which can include telehealth, to accommodate the growing population of geriatric, house-bound, and remote location patients. That is why programs are being created that allow patients to receive ER care in the comfort of their own homes. (more…)