Just Add Data

Matthew Miko, J.D.

Matthew Miko, J.D.


Data. It’s everywhere we turn ... seemingly tracking every move we make. The websites we visit, the apps we download on our phone, the fitness devices we wear on our wrists, all constantly sending bits and bits of data about us. Sometimes we know what the data is being used for, and sometimes we are in the dark.

But in public service, we know that the data can be used to improve critical outcomes. For example, tracking opioid overdoses helps direct substance abuse prevention efforts, and after an emergency response, data provides insight into response times and how quickly an issue was resolved. Today, of course, data is an indispensable tool for tracking (and tracing) the spread of COVID-19, as well as evaluating mitigation and prevention efforts.

At the IAED, we understand the importance of data. This is why, several years ago, we created the IAED Data Center with the purpose of gathering information on members’ protocol use. A built-in benefit of a structured protocol is the ability to study and evaluate the system’s effectiveness because of the tens of thousands of members asking the same questions in the same way on every call. Every new agency that joins the Data Center heightens this ability to evaluate the system and make improvements.

With data from over 12 million calls, and close to half a billion ProQA® keystrokes, we can study just about any question you could imagine related to the protocol. Are the protocols working the way we expect? How can they be improved? What tools would benefit a patient or bystander before response arrives on scene?

We can also take vital measurements, such as the efficiency in response and success of PAIs. How long until dispatch? How effective is the Breathing Verification Tool at identifying a possible cardiac arrest? And, from there, how long did it take to get hands-on-chest?

While we do publish studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals, more often the data helps us develop a better understanding of an issue relating to emergency dispatch. For example, when questions were raised about whether the pandemic was causing bystanders to be less willing (or more hesitant) to perform CPR, we were able to examine thousands of calls to see whether the evidence supported these concerns about the pandemic’s impact. And thankfully, a review of the data did not indicate any change in the rate of bystander CPR during the pandemic.

This work would not be possible without the participation of our member agencies. But participation is not a one-way street. We are just as committed to helping agencies contributing to the Data Center, which is why these agencies are provided with their own secure agency dashboard so they can analyze trends specific to their concerns. To learn more about the Data Center, and how your agency can contribute and have your own dashboard, please click here: https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/3a4894b829954b2a83a3d09055b210e0