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Justin Eberly | October 9, 2018

How to Provide 5-Star Patient Transport

Could your ambulance and paratransit customer service rival Uber?

In a 2015 Jimmy Kimmel Live television skit, Kimmel compared an ambulance with Uber, a popular ride-sharing mobile app. Most ride-sharing apps have a mechanism to rate your driver. Do your ambulance and paratransit vehicle operators have what it takes to earn a coveted 5-star rating? Consider asking your patients for their feedback following a transport.

Making a 5-Star Impression

Each star represents an expectation which was met or exceeded. It is a reasonable assumption that people expect professionalism, customer service and compassion from their ambulance or paratransit crew. Whether it is the first or 50th trip of the day, every crew leaves an impression. In its simplest form, being nice can earn you stars…and that’s a real complement!

Consider distributing a survey following your organization’s ambulance or paratransit transports. This will allow you to:

  • Recognize exemplary performance
  • Boost average performance with refresher training
  • Remedy poor performance with corrective action and remedial training

Good reviews can go a long way toward boosting the public impression of your organization. And positive patient care, from beginning to end, is the key to capturing those rave reviews. In this recent EMS1 article, Steve Wirth discusses the “serial positioning effect” as it relates to the impressions left by an ambulance crew.

Safety is Key

It would not surprise anyone that the expectations of a patient and management are very different. As the EMS industry becomes increasingly data-driven, the efficiency and effectiveness of every aspect of an EMS system must be measured. The expected level of service expands far beyond the ride itself, but a smooth and safe transport is a basic expectation shared by management and patients.

Getting into a collision would certainly not earn you any stars. Each mile an ambulance or paratransit vehicle travels, the exposure to a collision increases. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates an average of 4,500 vehicle collisions involve an ambulance each year. An ambulance or paratransit vehicle operator must never become complacent, but rather maintain the required skills proficiency.

Consider utilizing a Street & Highway Driving Evaluation Form to critique the skills proficiency of an ambulance or paratransit vehicle operator. Just as a transport survey would do, this could help you to recognize good performance, better understand what areas need improvement and be more aware of poor performance areas that likely require some sort of remedial training.


A modern EMS organization should have a mechanism to monitor driver performance. A poor review from a patient may provide important insights of inappropriate behavior or unsafe habits. A regular behind-the-wheel evaluation by management reinforces the organization’s commitment to safety. Each ambulance and paratransit vehicle operator must understand the risks associated with vehicle operations, taking proactive steps to continuously improve their driving skills and abilities. In striving to do so, you can provide your own version of 5-star patient transport.

Download our free driver performance evaluation sheet now and visit theGlatfelter Commercial Ambulance Safety Central website for additional complimentary safety-focused, printable materials.

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More About the Author:

Justin Eberly

Justin M. Eberly is an Education and Training Specialist for VFIS, a subsidiary of the Glatfelter Insurance Group, responsible for the national delivery of educational and training programs, curriculum development, and information analysis. Eberly is an active Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and volunteer firefighter in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. He actively serves on the safety committee for an EMS agency. As an educator, he has served as adjunct faculty for emergency services at two technical colleges serving the South Central Pennsylvania region. Previously, he served as the assistant chief of a combination volunteer/career basic life support ambulance service. Eberly has earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Information Technology for Business Education from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. He expects to graduate in mid-2018 with a Masters in Public Administration with an emphasis in Emergency Services Management at Columbia Southern University.