Programs and Initiatives in Health Care – EMS for Stroke

Programs & Initiatives in Health Care
Emergency Medical Services for Stroke

With a stroke, calling 911 can save a life. Care often starts in the ambulance and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is the first healthcare provider in contact with an assumed stroke patient. These professionals are a critical part of the stroke team and a vital link in a patient’s survival and long-term functioning.

The Minnesota Department of Health is working with EMS agencies to find ways to improve statewide stroke care provided in the ambulance, promote notifying hospitals to activate their stroke systems, and use best practices and stroke protocols.

Improvement strategies

Coordinating stroke care between EMS agencies and stroke-ready hospital emergency departments (ED) means aligning approaches and implementing best practices for optimal stroke care. The following strategies are designed to provide tools to EMS agencies that will help achieve that goal.

SimMan® EMS project

SimMan® is a patient simulator that trainers use to create more realistic stroke scenarios. The Stroke Program is focusing on the seven rural EMS regions, providing one SimMan® to each region, and training them to create effective simulations to enhance learning opportunities.

eLearning options

The Stroke Program is developing an accredited eLearning course to focus on training for risk factors, EMS care, hospital care and rehabilitation.  The course will be offered to all EMS providers in early 2018.

Exploring data

Linking stroke cases from the Stroke Registry to ambulance runs in MNSTAR Minnesota State Ambulance Reporting allows us to follow a case from the 911 call through their hospital care. Analyzing these trends helps us identify areas of the state where we can provide additional training and support to improve outcomes.

Public awareness

EMS plays an important role in educating the public on the signs and symptoms of a stroke and the need to activate emergency services. The MDH Stroke Program developed the Every Second Counts Stroke Awareness Campaign to provide public awareness tools for our EMS and hospital partners.

Training grants

The Stroke Program has provided 10 training grants since 2015 to Minnesota’s EMS regions. These funds allowed each region to promote stroke education with the EMS providers in the region.

Every Second Counts EMS toolkit

To request "Every Second Counts" EMS toolkit free of charge please complete and submit the "Every Second Counts" EMS Toolkit Order Form. We will email the file once we receive your request.

This toolkit can help EMS agencies identify areas for improvement in consistently providing optimal stroke care and improving care coordination. This resource offers a variety of tools that support continuing education, performance improvement and community education. Some of these tools include:

  • Every Second Counts Toolkit Cover ImageEducational handouts about stroke
  • Opportunities for stroke education
  • Stroke treatment guidelines
  • Sample EMS protocols
  • A stroke checklist for emergency medical technicians (EMTs)
  • Ideas for stroke treatment quality improvement metrics and projects
  • Information on where to learn about hospitals’ level of stroke care (e.g., state-designated stroke centers in Minnesota)
  • Community education information and resources

For more information

For questions, email:  or call (651) 201-5413.