Where is your EMS tech vendor on the NEMSIS v3 compliance list?

Here are the FACTS, sorted by system type (field-use vs. regulatory back-end). Each vendor who has applied for NEMSIS v3 certification is represented on this list.

See for yourself what company is where. Don’t just take anyone’s “word” when it comes to compliance with data requirements.

Zoll, ImageTrend, and Beyond Lucid Technologies (www.beyondlucid.com). Those are the three companies whose electronic patient care record (ePCR) systems are ready today for nationwide licensing and deployment of the National EMS Information System, version 3 (NEMSIS v3) in ground Emergency Medical Services.*

Is your ePCR vendor on that list? If not, the company may reach NEMSIS v3 compliance at some point. However, it is highly unlikely that any other vendors will be ready to give you a NEMSIS v3 compliant system before 2016, and especially not in time to meet the July 1, 2015 deadline set by the Kentucky Board of EMS for mandatory conversion to NEMSIS v3, and by Texas, Indiana, Idaho and South Dakota for v3 “go live.”

This post — and especially the data grids below — fulfills a promise that we made a couple weeks ago to PUBLISH EVIDENCE of the amount of time it has taken EMS technology firms nationwide to achieve NEMSIS v3 compliance. We do not believe any agency should have to risk penalties because its vendor made claims that could not be supported with proof. We do believe that EMS agencies should be empowered by facts—see grids below — so that no matter what firm is ultimately selected to provide technology and support services for your agency, all parties can enter the relationship with an informed sense of what is possible…and what is real.

One ePCR company in particular —I will not publicly comment on which one — told its clients in Kentucky, Texas, and elsewhere that it will meet July 1 deadlines. The company has been telling billing partners that it will meet July 1 deadlines. However, the facts show that this company is not even on the compliance list as of June 17, 2015, and the average time to complete NEMSIS v3 compliance for a field-use ePCR system is 333 DAYS.

FIELD-USE ePCRs (EMS agencies)

(NEMSIS “Collect” level)

Highlighted firms are the only compliant NEMSIS v3 field-use ePCRs. Non-highlighted firms are NOT currently compliant with NEMSIS v3.

Average time to achieve NEMSIS v3 compliance for field-use ePCR is 333 days.

*NOTE: Source Code 3 and A/R Concepts have historically been focused on local operations, but there is no inherent reason that this could not change, and if it does, then either firm (or both) will be added to the list of nationally salable systems. Golden Hour is primarily known as a leading documentation company for air medical transport services. MEDS has not to date been indicated for sale to the public market, but rather, has been primarily used internally at American Medical Response.

Put another way: Even if one were to start this company’s clock as of the first day it submitted its paperwork to start testing, and totally disregard the fact that it is no longer on the NEMSIS v3 compliance testing list, based on the historical average the company cannot be reasonably expected to achieve NEMSIS v3 compliance before early September. In this author’s opinion, to misinform hardworking EMS agencies about their ability to meet local and state timelines is an egregious, disingenuous practice because it puts those agencies at risk of fines (or worse), when all they are doing is investing their faith in a company that has promised to take care of them.

Moreover, achieving NEMSIS v3 compliance is not the same as releasing a compliant product into the market—and after all, what good is achieving compliance if your clients cannot use your system to complete their required documentation? Beyond Lucid Technologies certified in December 2013 and deployed v3 the following summer. ImageTrend received NEMSIS v3 compliance for its state-level data repository in December 2013, and demonstrated the ability to receive v3 data in October 2014 — 10 months later. Zoll took 6 months to announce the release its NEMSIS v3 product after achieving compliance in October 2014.

Here is the point: Once an ePCR company receives NEMSIS v3 certification, it can legitimately market its system as compliant. But that does not mean it will be able to deploy right away. You need to be able to use the system. If we assume that a company complies with NEMSIS v3 in September 2015 and needs just half the time that Zoll used to release its v3 compliant product, EMS agencies still have no reason to expect that they will begin v3 compliant charting using the company’s ePCR until early in 2016.

We admire the degree to which EMS agencies remain loyal to their partners vendors; after all, there may be years of personal relationships involved. Yet our industry keeps talking about the importance of evidence-based practice.

BLT’s commitment to the industry we love has compelled us to internalize a mantra taken from one of our partner electronic health record companies: “There is a better way.” Not only do we know that better is possible…we also believe it is inevitable. We believe so deeply in the value of innovation that my colleague Bruce Graham and I published a “manifesto” on the topic.

DATA REPOSITORIES (States, Regulators)

(NEMSIS “Receive & Process” level)

Highlighted firms are the only compliant NEMSIS v3 data repositories. Non-highlighted firms are NOT currently compliant with NEMSIS v3.

Average time to achieve NEMSIS v3 compliance for back-end data repositories are 100.5 days.