Paper: Is Austin’s EMS System Broken?

in Public Relations

Is Austin’s EMS System Broken? That was the question that resulted in a feature article for the September issue of the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) authored by me (DMWAustin ’s own David M. Williams, Ph.D.).

JEMS requested the paper after EMS industry leaders noted numerous critical stories in the local Austin press about the nationally respected EMS system. I was also motivated because frequently quoted local stakeholders were making statements that the EMS system was broken and beyond repair and making recommendations for serious changes that could have real cost, quality, and access implications for the community. I wanted to help community leaders and elected officials move away from the emotion and the weeds and apply an EMS industry framework to describe the EMS system. The conclusion? The system is not broken, but has many opportunities for improvement.

You can read some local coverage of my JEMS paper here:

Austin-American Statesman

YNN News

You can also read the original JEMS paper online at

My hope is the paper will help raise the conversation to talk about outcomes and the leadership and process improvements required to accomplish them versus changing for the sake of changing. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and keep trying to be part of the solution.

You can also read more about recent reporting on the Austin EMS system issues in a recent profile from the Austin Chronicle.