JOURNAL ARTICLE

The implementation and evaluation of an evidence-based statewide prehospital pain management protocol developed using the national prehospital evidence-based guideline model process for emergency medical services

Kathleen M Brown, Jon Mark Hirshon, Richard Alcorta, Tasmeen S Weik, Ben Lawner, Shiu Ho, Joseph L Wright
Prehospital Emergency Care 2014, 18 Suppl 1: 45-51
24134543

BACKGROUND: In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funded the development of a model process for the development and implementation of evidence-based guidelines (EBGs) for emergency medical services (EMS). We report on the implementation and evaluation of an evidence-based prehospital pain management protocol developed using this model process.

METHODS: An evidence-based protocol for prehospital management of pain resulting from injuries and burns was reviewed by the Protocol Review Committee (PRC) of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS). The PRC recommended revisions to the Maryland protocol that reflected recommendations in the EBG: weight-based dosing and repeat dosing of morphine. A training curriculum was developed and implemented using Maryland's online Learning Management System and successfully accessed by 3,941 paramedics and 15,969 BLS providers. Field providers submitted electronic patient care reports to the MIEMSS statewide prehospital database. Inclusion criteria were injured or burned patients transported by Maryland ambulances to Maryland hospitals whose electronic patient care records included data for level of EMS provider training during a 12-month preimplementation period and a 12-month postimplementation period from September 2010 through March 2012. We compared the percentage of patients receiving pain scale assessments and morphine, as well as the dose of morphine administered and the use of naloxone as a rescue medication for opiate use, before and after the protocol change.

RESULTS: No differences were seen in the percentage of patients who had a pain score documented or the percent of patients receiving morphine before and after the protocol change, but there was a significant increase in the total dose and dose in mg/kg administered per patient. During the postintervention phase, patients received an 18% higher total morphine dose and a 14.9% greater mg/kg dose.

CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated that the implementation of a revised statewide prehospital pain management protocol based on an EBG developed using the National Prehospital Evidence-based Guideline Model Process was associated with an increase in dosing of narcotic pain medication consistent with that recommended by the EBG. No differences were seen in the percentage of patients receiving opiate analgesia or in the documentation of pain scores.

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