National EMSC Data Analysis Resource Center
There are many reasons why you might want to collect data. Let’s discuss a few of them...
The EMSC Performance Measures are now the primary areas that states are expected to work on for their EMSC grants. Each year that you submit your EMSC grant application, you will be expected to report on the progress your state has made in working toward meeting the performance measure standards. This might include:
Fancy mind-reading tricks or data collection. You decide. In order to report on, say, whether or not your agencies have the necessary pediatric equipment and supplies, you will need to either learn some fancy mind-reading tricks or you will probably need to conduct some sort of data collection project to see how many agencies are in compliance.
This data collection could be done either in the form of a survey or it could be conducted as an observational technique, where someone actually inspects each agency to see if all the equipment is available. Data collection activities are sure to be a critical grant component for all state EMSC managers in the coming years, so it is wise to learn now all you can about how to collect data effectively.
In addition to your performance measure reporting obligations, you may need to do additional data collection work for your EMSC grant. For instance, one performance measure you’ll need to report on is whether or not your state has interfacility transfer agreements in place.
But how do you know if those interfacility transfer agreements are actually working effectively? This is certainly an important question you would also want to answer, because you are a wise and prudent EMSC manager who wants to make sure your programs are actually doing good things for your state. This is an example of a question that isn’t necessarily a performance measure, but is tied directly to your performance measure priorities.
Another reason you might want to collect data is to fulfill other state needs. For instance, most EMSC programs help provide some sort of pediatric emergency trainings to EMTs in the state. It is important for you to evaluate these trainings using pre- and post-evaluations, follow-up retention studies, etc.
Or maybe you have always joined forces with the Safe Kids Coalition in your state to host a pediatric safety conference each year, and you’ve been able to continue doing this activity using leftover grant money. You may need to do some data collection assessing the needs for this conference.
Or maybe you have implemented a new pediatric medication protocol in your state. Wouldn't it be nice if you could determine whether outcomes have improved over time due to the new protocol?
All of these are examples require good data collection skills so that you can answer important questions for your state.
REMEMBER to always write down your needs and your primary questions you would like to answer. This step will greatly benefit you down the road.