From the Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians
Emergency medical services education research priorities during COVID-19: A modified Delphi study
Rebecca E. Cash PhD, MPH, William J. Leggio EdD, Jonathan R. Powell MPA, Kim D. McKenna PhD, Paul Rosenberger EdD, Elliot Carhart EdD, Adrienne Kramer PhD, Juan A. March MD, Ashish R. Panchal MD, PhD, for the Pandemic Educational Effects Task Force
Our objective was to identify research priorities to understand the impact of COVID-19 on initial emergency medical services (EMS) education.
We used a modified Delphi method with an expert panel (n = 15) of EMS stakeholders to develop consensus on the research priorities that are most important and feasible to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on initial EMS education. Data were collected from August 2020 to February 2021 over 5 rounds (3 electronic surveys and 2 live virtual meetings). In Round 1, participants submitted research priorities over 9 specific areas. Responses were thematically analyzed to develop a list of research priorities reviewed in Round 2. In Round 3, participants rated the priorities by importance and feasibility, with a weighted score (2/3*importance+1/3*feasibility) used for preliminary prioritization. In Round 4, participants ranked the priorities. In Round 5, participants provided their agreement or disagreement with the group’s consensus of the top 8 research priorities.
During Rounds 1 and 2, 135 ideas were submitted by the panel, leading to a preliminary list of 27 research priorities after thematic analysis. The top 4 research priorities identified by the expert panel were prehospital internship access, impact of lack of field and clinical experience, student health and safety, and EMS education program availability and accessibility. Consensus was reached with 10/11 (91%) participants in Round 5 agreeing.
The identified research priorities are an important first step to begin evaluating the EMS educational infrastructure, processes, and outcomes that were affected or threatened through the pandemic.