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Safe and Engaged Communities

Achieve and maintain a 15 minute or less EMS on- scene time for incidents involving stroke patients


FY19 Actual

FY18 Actual

Objective Description

Stroke survival and recovery is highly dependent on the time of symptom onset to the time that definitive intervention occurs. If that treatment occurs early, the condition can be reversed or limited. As such, rapid recognition of symptoms by the patient, effective pre-hospital treatment, and rapid transport are paramount. The length of EMS on-scene time is one controllable factor where accuracy and speed of diagnosis, efficiency of treatment, and adequate care team size and capability are important. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) has outlined several stroke system performance time goals including an “EMS On-Scene Time” of less than 15 minutes. The Average EMS On-Scene Time for Stroke Patients metric represents the average time interval from when EMS arrives at the patient until the ambulance departs to the hospital, capturing the length of time that stroke treatment occurred on the scene.

Trend Analysis

Between FY 2014 and FY 2019, the five-year average on-scene time for stroke patients was 14 minutes and 44 seconds (14:44). The Average EMS On-Scene Time for Stroke Patients has fluctuated slightly over that last five years, varying between 15:02 and 14:47, but since FY 2015 has remained lower than the national 15-minute standard. EMS on-scene time can be impacted by the severity of patient symptoms, the effectiveness of the call-taking process, the size of the EMS team, and other factors. Critical prehospital actions that have been shown to shorten this time interval include rapid diagnosis, early notification to the receiving hospital, and efficient patient care provision and scene management.


  • Ensure paramedics are well equipped and trained to accurately interpret advanced electrocardiograms and treat stroke patients.
  • Collaborate with area hospitals to deliver closely coordinated prehospital and definitive care for stroke patients, including special operational protocols, EMS provider training, early notification systems, and integrated quality assurance processes.
  • Ensure effective identification of stroke patients during the 911 call-taking process, and a subsequent appropriate resource response.

Source: Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue

Detailed Analysis

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