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State of the States [NEMSIS v3]

Since the NEMSIS TAC first certified software vendors for NEMSIS version 3 data standard compliance, six states have “gone green” with the new version. This signifies a major transition from the version 2 standard, and provides researchers with richer data. It also ushers a new era in data sharing among care providers in EMS and Hospitals, making way for improved outcomes data and mobile integrated healthcare.

Each state has set its own requirements for cut-off dates when they will no longer accept “version 2” data, while the NEMSIS TAC has outlined the older format will not be accepted after 2016. From those pioneers in statewide NEMSIS 3 transition, we asked a few questions and aggregated their answers here:


What Was Learned?

Start as early as possible to allow time for reconfigurations that will allow your system to work in an even better way, including new validation and visibility rules. Having a complete understanding of the NEMSIS data dictionary, your software’s capabilities and staff training needs will make the transition smoother.


What Advice Would you Offer to Others?

See above in many respects – understanding the NEMSIS data dictionary was a common answer. Also recruiting meticulous pilot users and other health care users to help identify improvements prior to a full-scale launch will help iron out the kinks and generate consensus. Build validation rules for NEMSIS compliance – other states could be helpful reference here. Communication is key throughout.


What Would You Like All Agencies to Know?

Plan ahead to allow adequate transition period. With any change there will be training needs and an adoption period as there will be a chain of care participants (e.g. first responder, transporter, agency, hospital, inter-facility transportation) and you’ll want to be sure they are ready for version 3 so no ePCRs are missed. Agencies should be using a compatible subversion for submitting data to the state. Make sure you are capturing data in all the right fields on the form and not relying on narratives so you have exams and vitals. Lastly, understand the current vs. future capabilities of your ePCR software and all integrations (e.g. ImageTrend Elite™, CAD, EKG, billing software) and have the right expectations upon deployment.


Thanks to our contributors: Anne Vossbrink, EMS & Trauma Data Manager, State of Arizona; Melissa Belgau, WEMSIS Administrator, Washington State Department of Health; and Doug Fuller, Southeast EMS Specialist for the EMS/Trauma Program, State of Nebraska.