Quality Management of Prehospital Airway Programs: An NAEMSP Position Statement and Resource Document

Veer Vithalani, Samuel Sondheim, Angela Cornelius, John Gonzales, Mary P. Mercer, Brooke Burton, Michael Redlener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Prehospital airway management encompasses a multitude of complex decision-making processes, techniques, and interventions. Quality management (encompassing quality assurance and quality improvement activities) in EMS is dynamic, evidence-based, and most of all, patient-centric. Long a mainstay of the EMS clinician skillset, airway management deserves specific focus and attention and dedicated quality management processes to ensure the delivery of high-quality clinical care. It is the position of NAEMSP that: All EMS agencies should dedicate sufficient resources to patient-centric, comprehensive prehospital airway quality management program. These quality management programs should consist of prospective, concurrent, and retrospective activities. Quality management programs should be developed and operated with the close involvement of the medical director. Quality improvement and quality assurance efforts should operate in an educational, non-disciplinary, non-punitive, evidence-based medicine culture focused on patient safety. The highest quality of care is only achieved when the quality management program rewards those who identify and seek to prevent errors before they occur. Information evaluated in prehospital airway quality management programs should include both subjective and objective data elements with uniform reporting and operational definitions. EMS systems should regularly measure and report process, outcome, and balancing airway management measures. Quality management activities require large-scale bidirectional information sharing between EMS agencies and receiving facilities. Hospital outcome information should be shared with agencies and the involved EMS clinicians. Findings from quality management programs should be used to guide and develop initial education and continued training. Quality improvement programs must continually undergo evaluation and assessment to identify strengths and shortcomings with a focus on continuous improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-22
Number of pages9
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - 2022


  • EMS
  • airway
  • capnography
  • intubation
  • prehospital
  • quality assurance
  • quality improvement
  • quality management
  • ventilation


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