As the new year begins, most states are preparing to, or already have, released their National EMS Information System (NEMSIS) v3.5 revision implementation and transition plans. Here are the most important things your EMS agency should know about this newest update to the standard.
#1: What is NEMSIS and how does it work?
NEMSIS is funded by NHTSA (DOT) and is the national standard with certification for collecting EMS data through ePCR software and sending EMS data to the state. Data is received by the state and forwarded to the national database.
NEMSIS version 3.5 is designed to increase the accuracy and efficiency of documentation, enhance health information exchange, and ultimately improve patient care. The v3.5 standard facilitates vital evidence-based healthcare practices and partnerships.
#2: What changes occurred in v3.5 that differ from the previous version?
NEMSIS v3.5 is the latest revision from v3.4. The biggest changes in NEMSIS v3.5 include:
- Fewer national required elements
- Revised call dispositions to be organized by 4-5 elements
- Alignment with CARES (Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival) elements
- Updated and condensed list of codes
- Expanded meanings of pertinent negatives
- More accurate reports with state-level information
- Compliance testing at least every two years
- Addition of the Universally Unique Identifier (UUID)
#3: When will states implement NEMSIS v3.5?
The time it takes to transition from NEMSIS v3.4 to v3.5 will vary by state. As of December 30, 2022, Colorado, Kansas, Arizona, Washington, Louisiana, Oregon, and South Dakota began accepting electronic Patient Care Records (ePCR) per the v3.5 update (in addition to v3.4). The next wave of states expected to mandate v3.5 are Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, Alabama, and Florida.
Ultimately, NEMSIS v3.4 will stop accepting EMS data in January 2024 — meaning all states must transition to v3.5 by this date.
#4: Does your software have to be NEMSIS v3.5 certified? What if it isn't?
NEMSIS’s purpose is to maintain a national repository of ePCR data for reporting and research. Only NEMSIS-compliant software solutions are permitted to contribute to the national EMS repository. Untested software isn’t allowed for obvious reasons—a deviation from the standards can increase variability and quickly degrade the integrity and accuracy of the data.
Your PCR software does need to be NEMSIS v3.5 certified to ensure local EMS agency data and state and national repositories remain harmonized. States can revoke an EMS agency’s license when it doesn’t submit NEMSIS data to the state.
Note that once an EMS agency starts submitting data with NEMSIS v3.5, the agency typically can’t revert to v3.4.
#5: Are ZOLL® Data products NEMSIS v3.5 certified?
The good news for customers using RescueNet® ePCR 6.7 and ZOLL emsCharts® is that both are NEMSIS v3.5 certified to “Collect Data.” This means these products are tested and approved for field-level EMS providers to use to collect demographics and patient care reports:
- RescueNet ePCR has been certified to Collect Data since 2021 (03/17/2021) for v3.5 and is available in the latest version (6.7).
- ZOLL emsCharts for Web new UI has been certified to Collect Data for version 3.5 on 10/13/2022. If you use ZOLL emsCharts for Windows you will need to finish the chart on the Web to submit v3.5. ZOLL emsCharts for Windows will be able to verify v3.5 sometime in 2023.
For more information, refer to these resources:
- RescueNet ePCR: Documentation for RescueNet ePCR 6.7, release notes, NEMSIS installation guide, and integration documentation can be found in the ZOLL Customer Community.
- ZOLL emsCharts: NEMSIS v3.5 changes can be viewed by Chart Page on our ZOLL Online help page. Additional NEMSIS v3.5 resources can be found on the ZOLL emsCharts and NEMSIS Overview page.