1. Identify your goals
Start by mapping your goals directly to your community's needs and strategic priorities. The number of possibilities these programs offer can seem overwhelming, so having a clear focus will help streamline the planning process. Organizations often aim to reduce avoidable ED visits, decrease readmissions, or increase access to primary care with their paramedicine programs.
2. Compare your goals with your offerings
Second, map service offerings to your respective goals. While all programs focus on closing care gaps, the specific approach should differ in focus to be successful. For example, if you want to extend primary care access, emphasize preventive care and post-discharge support. If you want to reduce readmissions, facilitate behavior change, provide chronic disease management, and offer non-clinical care support.
3. Determine how you'll assess your progress
Finally, think through how you will measure and track your program's progress. It is crucial for all programs to identify and track progress with relevant metrics.
Metrics will differ by focus, but all include process and outcome measures. Take ED diversion as an example: If your goal is to reduce avoidable ED utilization, measure the number of ED visits, number of 911 calls, changes in ED wait times, and the number of patients transported to alternate care sites.
With a spectrum of options, setting a clear focus for your community paramedicine program maximizes its benefit. Use our decision tree to pinpoint where to start: