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Community Outreach: A Call to Action for Emergency Medical Management

Larry Malloy | Feb 8, 2013

The movie “Dead Poets Society” was released in 1989. That was 24 years ago, and I can still remember those words. Carpe diem…seize the day boys…” It was a call to wake up and seize the moment. That quote has never been more relevant than today in the EMS industry. We are in an era of unprecedented change and opportunity, but it may pass you by if you’re not ready to “seize the opportunity”.

Within your community, there are unmet medical needs, which are opportunities for you to expand your business even as budgets are tightened. A chance for you to redefine your business and the value you bring to your community. What are you doing to hear and answer those calls for help? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Community Outreach. When was the last time you rode with your EMT’s and Paramedics? When was the last time you had lunch with the ER staff? When was your last visit to your county public health department? What do you talk about when you get out into your community? Do you talk, or do you listen? Do you ask the right questions to reveal those unmet needs? To find answers you are looking for, you must ask the right questions. Make a concerted effort next time you’re in the community to ask more questions and sincerely listen for the unmet needs.

Leadership. In your staff meetings, what questions do you ask your employees? Do you plan time in every meeting for feedback, or is it just an occasional afterthought? Do you actively elicit comments from the field? Do you encourage and incentivize them to share their thoughts? Do you encourage solutions and reward your employees for addressing community needs? Employees will follow your lead, and if you don’t make it a part of your daily conversations, then you are missing many opportunities to add value to your community.

Systems & Processes. What benefits do you receive when you hear about a need within your community, but don’t act on it? What message are you communicating to your employees and to your community if the same needs keep surfacing? Put systems and processes in place to actively survey, capture, prioritize and process needs within your community. You don’t have to have all the answers, encourage and engage your employees and the community to develop solutions. Also, don’t forget to communicate your progress throughout the process. It shows you are listening and that you care.

The future is upon us. This is your opportunity to take control…to be a thought leader within your community and within the EMS industry. What are you going to do? Will you hear and act on the voice of those that have gone before us…“Carpe diem. Seize the day.”? Or will you look back in 5 years and say “I wish I had listened more to my community”. Seize the opportunity presented.

We want to hear your success stories. Add your comments below. Tell us how your organization “seized the day” by addressing unmet community needs. You never know who you will inspire, and how much of a ripple effect one great idea or act has to change the world.

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