Because funding provided to AHRQ is increasingly tied to specific activities, such as patient safety research, progressively fewer funds have been available for investigator-initiated research and research training. Nonetheless, AHRQ remains a major source of funds for health services and outcomes research, with a specific focus on translating research into practice. The development of methods for effectively translating new research findings into clinical practice is particularly important in emergency care, and it is not surprising that AHRQ has funded a number of important studies in this area, including early research on treatment for cardiac arrest (Eisenberg et al., 1990), studies of first responder defibrillation and prehospital cardiac arrest outcomes in Memphis (Kellermann et al., 1993), and the Pediatric Airway Management project of Gausche-Hill and colleagues mentioned previously (Gausche et al., 2000).
The Office of EMS within NHTSA plays a lead role in coordinating activities related to EMS system development and research. As mentioned above, the Office of EMS together with HRSA sponsored the development of the National EMS Research Agenda (NHTSA, 2001b). This report highlighted the lack of evidence available to support many clinical practices in the field and detailed an agenda for building the research base. NHTSA’s Office of EMS also currently funds two key research initiatives: the Emergency Medical Services Outcomes Project (EMSOP), a study to develop metrics for use in EMS-related outcomes research (see Box 7-1), and the Emergency Medical Services Cost Analysis Project (EMSCAP), a study to develop metrics for assessing the costs and benefits of EMS.
NHTSA and HRSA also cosponsor the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS), the national database on EMS systems and outcomes. NHTSA’s Office of Human-Centered Research sponsors the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN), which collects and shares detailed research data on automobile crashes and patient outcomes (see Box 7-2).
Though not specifically research related, NHTSA’s Office of EMS also supports the National EMS Scope of Practice Model project, a joint initiative of the National Association of State EMS Officials and the National Council of State EMS Training Coordinators (see Chapter 4). In addition, the Longitudinal Emergency Medical Technician Attribute and Demographics Study (LEADS) is a project of the National Registry of EMTs partially funded by NHTSA. An annual LEADS survey collects information on the EMS workforce.