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Epidemiology for COVID-19 EMS providers

This page provides an overview of epidemiology for emergency medical services (EMS) providers from all types of EMS systems.

This guidance applies to all EMS delivery models including but not limited to: free standing, municipal third-service; fire-based; hospital-based; private; independent; volunteer and related EMS providers.

Overview of epidemiology

Epidemiology is the basic science of public health. It is the study of patterns of disease in specific populations and the interventions used to address public health problems. Epidemiology investigates the distribution (i.e. frequency and pattern) and determinants (i.e. causes or risk factors) of a disease in a population. It is a quantitative science that relies on sound research methods, thoughtful statistical analysis, and provides a scientific basis for design and implementation of public health interventions.

Epidemiological studies are used by public health officials, medical directors, healthcare providers, policymakers and elected leaders to make evidence-based decisions regarding the prevention and control of a disease.

The epidemiologic approach

As with all scientific endeavors, the practice of epidemiology relies on a systematic and reproducible approach. In very simple terms, the epidemiologist:

Epidemiology evaluation tips

Related epidemiology content

Introduction to Epidemiology. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Twenty tips for interpreting scientific claims. Nature.

Download this guidance

This guidance was developed by the Federal Healthcare Resilience Task Force (HRTF). The HRTF is leading the development of a comprehensive strategy for the U.S. healthcare system to facilitate resiliency and responsiveness to the threats posed by COVID-19. The Task Force's EMS/Pre-Hospital Team is comprised of public and private-sector EMS and 911 experts from a wide variety of agencies and focuses on responding to the needs of the pre-hospital community. This team is composed of subject matter experts from NHTSA OEMS, CDC, FEMA, USFA, U.S. Army, USCG and non-federal partners representing stakeholder groups and areas of expertise. Through collaboration with experts in related fields, the team develops practical resources for field providers, supervisors, administrators, medical directors and associations to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Primary Point of Contact: NHTSA Office of EMS, nhtsa.ems@dot.gov, 202-366-5440