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A community paramedic tests the vital signs of a patient in their home.

Expanding Paramedicine in the Community 

In 2015, Grey County paramedics embarked on a two-year clinical trial to study the effectiveness of community paramedicine in reducing emergency room visits by chronic disease patients. The study was conducted in partnership with the Owen Sound Family Health Team and St. Michael’s Hospital (Rescu). Funding for the pilot ended in February 2017.

Expanding Paramedicine in the Community (EPIC) uses highly skilled Community Paramedics to monitor and treat patients in the comfort of their own home. Throughout the study, two Grey County Community Paramedics monitored and treated patients suffering from congestive heart failure, diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. Our paramedics worked closely with the Family Health Team and each patient’s family doctor.

Goals of the Study

The study aimed to find healthcare savings by reducing emergency room visits and hospital admissions. Too often chronic patients end up in the hospital or worse from symptoms which could be identified and treated by a community paramedic. Regular monitoring and early treatment can save patients unnecessary suffering and trips to the emergency room. Fewer trips to emergency rooms and fewer hospital admissions lead to healthcare savings.

Without these types of studies there is no high quality evidence to prove or disprove community paramedicine as a cost-effective addition to traditional healthcare. The EPIC trial addresses this gap and provide solid evidence. Study data is still being analyzed.

Our Community Paramedics

Grey County deployed two Community Paramedics to work with Family Health Team doctors and administer the trial. To prepare for their assignment, the paramedics completed an intense training course through Centennial College that included classroom learning and both clinical, and field training. 

Community Participation

Although study data is still being analyzed, EPIC was very well received by patients and their families. Many reported improvements to their overall health and an enhanced quality of life.

For more information, please contact us

Staff Contact(s)

Kevin McNab
Director of Paramedic Services

Department(s)

Paramedic Services

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