As an undergraduate student studying emergency health services (EHS) management, I was exposed to the work of EMS consultant Jack Stout and a series of articles he authored in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) in the 1980s and 90s. Mr. Stout has long been retired and I sadly have never met him, but his impact on ambulance systems, performance reliability, and focus on patient and community accountability still exists today.
Mr. Stout led one of the earliest research projects in the 1970s looking at what enabled an EMS system (ambulance) to perform effectively at a reasonable cost during a time when EMS systems were being heavily funded and formalized with little knowledge of what worked. His research resulted in the development of two models of EMS system design: the public utility and the fail-safe franchise models. He also became one of the leaders of the charge for process reliability and outcome measurement. He spread this knowledge through education programs, a series of trade journal articles, and consulting. His ideas were (and remain) both celebrated and controversial in the EMS market space even though the concepts were well tested and accepted outside.
During my doctoral work, I studied EMS systems and specifically the obstacles to patient-centric system designs (I posted my research abstract here). I conducted an exhaustive search of the published literature, which included accessing everything I could find of Stout’s writings and materials. In the process, I discovered that no one had a complete collection of his work. I began to compile hard and electronic copies from professors, consultants, and others and amassed what I believed was the largest electronic file of his work. At the same time, Mr. Stout’s son Todd was slowly trying to create a website with transcribed copies, but he did not have all of the writings. I sent him a CD of what I had compiled. Today, I discover that the electronic collection has been posted for all to access and there’s a very kind acknowledgment of my contribution. Go check it out at JackStout.com.