Blog: Next is Now – thoughts on future EMS

Tiina Koutajoki Blog, Uncategorized

International congresses are priceless when it comes to networking, following up on research and development, and developing your own competence in the field. In order to plan R&D activities it is crucial to know what is going on at home and abroad. 

In April, EMS professionals were once again gathered in Copenhagen for the EMS2018 congress. In three years the congress has become one of the leading events in Europe and each year it has offered meaningful encounters, knowledge and new ideas.

I think investing in congress attendance is very much worth it. Three intensive days of listening to the best experts in the field – not to mention the discussions during breaks! – stimulate thinking in a whole different way than regular days at the office. Besides international networking, events like this also provide the opportunity to reflect upon the national developments, trends and prospects with Finnish colleagues. It’s delightful to see that, in many respects, the Finnish EMS system is well advanced and that high quality research is done in Finland, too.

This year the theme of the congress was Next Is Now; the future of EMS. If we want to be ready to meet future challenges and make the best possible use of increasingly developing knowledge, skills and technology, we need to have the courage to look far enough. We should envisage EMS in at least 10 years from now and start acting on it. Next Is Now.

What could EMS be in 10 years of time? Paramedics become more and more skilled and doctors can take ever more advanced care to time-critical patients outside the hospital. Three aspects are worth highlighting to better serve all patients and save more lives in the future. The first and the most obvious one is new technology: it enables whole new ways of doing things and improving efficiency, as well as more and more critical care -level treatment outside of hospitals. Second is the importance of education and training in order to ensure the quality and safety of ever more demanding procedures. Last but definitely not least is an EMS system where resources are allocated correctly – in other words a system that can provide the right care to the right patients at the right time. As the congress slogan says, it takes a system to save a life.

Nevertheless, one element stands firm from this day to the future: it is only with knowledge-based cooperation that we can truly make a difference.


The author Anna Olkinuora works as Project Manager at FinnHEMS Research and Development Unit.

FinnHEMS blog is written by different people who all in their own job ensure that HEMS units in Finland operate every day of the year and that those in need of help receive high quality care.