Optimization of Linkage between North Carolina EMS and ED Data: EMS Naloxone Cases


The opioid overdose crisis has rapidly expanded in North Carolina (NC), paralleling the epidemic across the United States. The number of opioid overdose deaths in NC has increased by nearly 40% each year since 2015.1 Critical to preventing overdose deaths is increasing access to the life-saving drug naloxone, which can reverse overdose symptoms and progression. Over 700 EMS agencies across NC respond to over 1,000,000 calls each year; naloxone administration was documented in over 15,000 calls in 2017.2 Linking EMS encounters with naloxone administration to the corresponding ED visit assists in understanding the health outcomes of these patients. However, less than 66% of NC EMS records with naloxone administration in 2017 were successfully linked to an ED visit record. This study explored methods to improve EMS and ED data linkage, using a multistage process to maximize the number of correctly linked records while avoiding false linkages.

Objective: To improve linkage between North Carolina's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Emergency Department (ED) data using an iterative, deterministic approach.

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Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
January, 2019

June 18, 2019

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