This post was written by Lea Anne Myers, MSN, RN, CGRN, clinical director, Parkview Home Health, Hospice, and Mobile Integrated Health Paramedics.
The concept of community paramedicine is a relatively new and evolving healthcare model. Since 2015, the Parkview Mobile Integrated Health – Community Paramedic (MIH-CP) team has worked with a variety of healthcare entities to help patients achieve optimal well-being outside of the hospital setting. In simple terms, we focus on providing the right care in the right environment to achieve the best patient outcomes. This helps to reduce the overall cost of healthcare.
The origins of MIH-CP
The original initiative was our sepsis rapid response program. Sepsis is a life-threatening complication of an infection, and nursing home residents are seven times more likely to have severe sepsis upon presentation to the Emergency Department. Early identification and treatment are critical for the best patient outcome. Using quality of care and outcome scores, Parkview identified six extended care facilities to form a high performing network group. They focused on early identification of signs and symptoms of sepsis followed by a rapid response from the MIH-CP to perform blood tests at the patient’s bedside to confirm sepsis and begin appropriate treatment including IV fluid and antibiotics. Through these efforts, we’ve been able to avoid transfer to the hospital 92% of the time.
The current role of community paramedics
Other current and future initiatives include hospital discharge follow-up for readmission prevention, chronic disease management, elderly management programs, immunization and vaccination initiatives, and maternal/fetal health.
The MIH-CP team works 24/7 and helps to fill gaps in care, connect patients to resources in the community, and brings care to the patient as an extension of the hospital, physician’s office, or specialty clinic for patients that are at higher risk for emergency room visits or hospitalization.
There are 17 MIH-CP providers in Indiana; however, Parkview is the only program with a sepsis rapid response. Parkview’s program is unique in that it is hospital based and funded while most programs are run by local fire/EMS providers.