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This board is owned by Matt Holland, LKS ASE, Librarian. Contact Matt.Holland@nwas.nhs.uk

PINBOARD SUMMARY

Published research on emergency medical dispatch and emergency medical call handling.

Coverage

This board collates research around emergency call handling, emergency call centres for ambulance and emergency medical centres.

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The board is aimed at those working in the area of Emergency Dispatch and Emergency Call Centres. Anyone can look.

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The board is updated regularly. Somewhere between daily and weekly depending on the volume of publication.

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This board is maintained and run by Matt Holland, Librarian LKS ASE Matt.Holland@nwas.nhs.uk.

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163 ITEMS PINNED

Attitudes towards bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation: Results from a cross-sectional general population survey.

Abstract: Survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) varies across the developed world. Although not all OHCA are recoverable, the survival rate in Scotland is lower than in comparable countries, with higher average survival rates of 7.9% in England and 9% across Europe. The purpose of this paper is to explore the barriers, facilitators and public attitudes to administering bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) which could inform future policy and initiatives to improve the rate of bystander CPR. Data was collected via a cross-sectional general population survey of 1027 adults in Scotland. 52% of respondents had been trained in CPR. Of those who were not trained, two fifths (42%) expressed a willingness to receive CPR training. Fewer than half (49%) felt confident administering CPR, rising to 82% if they were talked through it by a call handler. Multivariate analyses identified that people in social grade C2DE were less likely than those in social grade ABC1 to be CPR trained and less confident to administer CPR if talked through by a call handler. The older a person was, the less likely they were to be CPR trained, show willingness to be CPR trained or be confident to administer bystander CPR with or without instruction from an emergency call handler. These findings are particularly relevant considering that most OHCA happen in the homes of older people. In a developed country such as Scotland with widely available CPR training, only half of the adult population reported feeling confident about administering bystander CPR. Further efforts tailored specifically for people who are older, unemployed and have a lower social grade are required to increase knowledge, confidence and uptake of training in bystander CPR.

Pub.: 08 Mar '18, Pinned: 23 Mar '18

Paediatric medical emergency calls to a Danish Emergency Medical Dispatch Centre: a retrospective, observational study

Abstract: Little is known regarding paediatric medical emergency calls to Danish Emergency Medical Dispatch Centres (EMDC). This study aimed to investigate these calls, specifically the medical issues leading to them and the pre-hospital units dispatched to the paediatric emergencies.We performed a retrospective, observational study on paediatric medical emergency calls managed by the EMDC in the Region of Southern Denmark in February 2016. We reviewed audio recordings of emergency calls and ambulance records to identify calls concerning patients ≤ 15 years. We examined EMDC dispatch records to establish how the medical issues leading to these calls were classified and which pre-hospital units were dispatched to the paediatric emergencies. We analysed the data using descriptive statistics.Of a total of 7052 emergency calls in February 2016, 485 (6.9%) concerned patients ≤ 15 years. We excluded 19 and analysed the remaining 466. The reported medical issues were commonly classified as: “seizures” (22.1%), “sick child” (18.9%) and “unclear problem” (12.9%). The overall most common pre-hospital response was immediate dispatch of an ambulance with sirens and lights with a supporting physician-manned mobile emergency care unit (56.4%). The classification of medical issues and the dispatched pre-hospital units varied with patient age.We believe our results might help focus the paediatric training received by emergency medical dispatch staff on commonly encountered medical issues, such as the symptoms and conditions pertaining to the symptom categories “seizures” and “sick child”. Furthermore, the results could prove useful in hypothesis generation for future studies examining paediatric medical emergency calls.Almost 7% of all calls concerned patients ≤ 15 years. Medical issues pertaining to the symptom categories “seizures”, “sick child” and “unclear problem” were common and the calls commonly resulted in urgent pre-hospital responses.

Pub.: 05 Jan '18, Pinned: 23 Mar '18

A comparison of two emergency medical dispatch protocols with respect to accuracy

Abstract: Emergency medical dispatching should be as accurate as possible in order to ensure patient safety and optimize the use of ambulance resources. This study aimed to compare the accuracy, measured as priority level, between two Swedish dispatch protocols – the three-graded priority protocol Medical Index and a newly developed prototype, the four-graded priority protocol, RETTS-A.A simulation study was carried out at the Emergency Medical Communication Centre (EMCC) in Stockholm, Sweden, between October and March 2016. Fifty-three voluntary telecommunicators working at SOS Alarm were recruited nationally. Each telecommunicator handled 26 emergency medical calls, simulated by experienced standard patients. Manuscripts for the scenarios were based on recorded real-life calls, representing the six most common complaints. A cross-over design with 13 + 13 calls was used. Priority level and medical condition for each scenario was set through expert consensus and used as gold standard in the study.A total of 1293 calls were included in the analysis. For priority level, n = 349 (54.0%) of the calls were assessed correctly with Medical Index and n = 309 (48.0%) with RETTS-A (p = 0.012). Sensitivity for the highest priority level was 82.6% (95% confidence interval: 76.6–87.3%) in the Medical Index and 54.0% (44.3–63.4%) in RETTS-A. Overtriage was 37.9% (34.2–41.7%) in the Medical Index and 28.6% (25.2–32.2%) in RETTS-A. The corresponding proportion of undertriage was 6.3% (4.7–8.5%) and 23.4% (20.3–26.9%) respectively.In this simulation study we demonstrate that Medical Index had a higher accuracy for priority level and less undertriage than the new prototype RETTS-A. The overall accuracy of both protocols is to be considered as low. Overtriage challenges resource utilization while undertriage threatens patient safety. The results suggest that in order to improve patient safety both protocols need revisions in order to guarantee safe emergency medical dispatching.

Pub.: 29 Dec '17, Pinned: 23 Mar '18

Dispatcher-assisted bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation in rural and urban areas and survival outcomes after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Abstract: We investigated the impact of dispatcher-assisted bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DA-BCPR) on survival outcomes after out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs) that occurred in rural and urban areas.This study was a cross-sectional study using nationwide emergency medical services (EMS)-based OHCA registry in Korea. All EMS-treated adults with OHCAs and with presumed cardiac etiology were enrolled between 2012 and 2015, excluding cases witnessed by an EMS provider. BCPR was categorized into 3 groups: BCPR-with-DA, BCPR-without-DA, and No-BCPR. The endpoint was good neurologic recovery at discharge. We compared the effects of BCPR on outcomes between rural and urban areas, using a multivariable logistic regression with an interaction term.A total of 53,240 patients (36.3% BCPR-with-DA and 12.8% BCPR-without-DA) were included. Among OHCAs that occurred in rural areas (32.3% BCPR-with-DA and 14.0% BCPR-without-DA) and urban areas (36.9% BCPR-with-DA and 12.5% BCPR-without-DA), good neurological recovery was demonstrated in 1.6% and 6.8% of the patients in rural and urban areas, respectively (p < 0.01). The patients with OHCAs who received BCPR in both rural and urban areas were more likely to have good neurologic recovery than the No-BCPR group (AORs, 3.53 (1.84-6.77) BCPR-with-DA and 2.56 (1.23-5.32) BCPR-without-DA in rural; and 1.59 (1.41-1.79) BCPR-with-DA and 1.37 (1.18-1.60) BCPR-without-DA in urban). The effects of the measures of BCPR-with-DA on the outcome were more apparent in rural areas compared to urban areas.BCPR, regardless of DA, was associated with improved neurologic recovery after OHCA in rural and urban areas. However, the effect of BCPR-with-DA was prominent for OHCA that occurred in rural areas.

Pub.: 07 Feb '18, Pinned: 25 Feb '18

Emergency Dispatcher Stroke Recognition: Associations with Downstream Care.

Abstract: As the first point of contact for patients activating emergency medical services (EMS), emergency dispatchers have the earliest opportunity to recognize stroke. We sought to quantify dispatcher stroke recognition and its relationships with EMS stroke recognition and response speed.We assembled a cohort of consecutive EMS-transported patients with a dispatcher suspected stroke or a hospital discharge diagnosis of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). Dispatcher sensitivity and positive predictive value (PPV) for stroke recognition were calculated. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to determine predictors of dispatcher recognition and relationships between dispatcher recognition and downstream care.During a 12-month period, 601 patients met inclusion criteria. Dispatchers suspected stroke in 229/324 (sensitivity = 70.7% [65.5 to 75.4%]) confirmed stroke/TIA cases and correctly assigned a suspected stroke label in 229/506 cases (PPV = 45.3% [41.0 to 49.6%]). Dispatchers had higher odds of recognizing ischemic strokes (aOR 3.4 [1.4 to 8.5]) and lower odds of recognizing patients with visual deficits (aOR = 0.4 [0.2 to 0.9]) or vomiting (aOR = 0.3 [0.1 to 0.9]). Dispatcher suspected stroke cases received more on-scene stroke screens (79.0% vs. 54.7%, p < 0.0001) and were more often recognized by EMS as strokes (77.7% vs. 57.9%, p = 0.0005). Dispatcher recognition was independently associated with EMS stroke recognition (aOR = 3.8 [1.9 to 7.7]), but not with transportation times, door-to-CT times, or t-PA delivery.Emergency dispatcher stroke recognition is associated with higher rates of on-scene stroke scale performance and EMS ischemic stroke recognition but not with reduced transport times, door-to-CT times, or t-PA treatment.

Pub.: 18 Jan '18, Pinned: 19 Jan '18

Regional "Call 911" Emergency Department Protocol to Reduce Interfacility Transfer Delay for Patients With ST-Segment-Elevation Myocardial Infarction.

Abstract: We evaluated the first-medical-contact-to-balloon (FMC2B) time after implementation of a "Call 911" protocol for ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) interfacility transfers in a regional system.This is a retrospective cohort study of consecutive patients with STEMI requiring interfacility transfer from a STEMI referring hospital, to one of 35 percutaneous coronary intervention-capable STEMI receiving centers (SRCs). The Call 911 protocol allows the referring physician to activate 911 to transport a patient with STEMI to the nearest SRC for primary percutaneous coronary intervention. Patients with interfacility transfers were identified over a 4-year period (2011-2014) from a registry to which SRCs report treatment and outcomes for all patients with STEMI transported via 911. The primary outcomes were median FMC2B time and the proportion of patients achieving the 120-minute goal. FMC2B for primary 911 transports were calculated to serve as a system reference. There were 2471 patients with STEMI transferred to SRCs by 911 transport during the study period, of whom 1942 (79%) had emergent coronary angiography and 1410 (73%) received percutaneous coronary intervention. The median age was 61 years (interquartile range [IQR] 52-71) and 73% were men. The median FMC2B time was 111 minutes (IQR 88-153) with 56% of patients meeting the 120-minute goal. The median STEMI referring hospital door-in-door-out time was 53 minutes (IQR 37-89), emergency medical services transport time was 9 minutes (IQR 7-12), and SRC door-to-balloon time was 44 minutes (IQR 32-60). For primary 911 patients (N=4827), the median FMC2B time was 81 minutes (IQR 67-97).Using a Call 911 protocol in this regional cardiac care system, patients with STEMI requiring interfacility transfers had a median FMC2B time of 111 minutes, with 56% meeting the 120-minute goal.

Pub.: 25 Dec '17, Pinned: 03 Jan '18

Digital medicine and information and communication technology innovations: Use case of adherence in health services

Abstract: Homer Papadopoulos Digital Medicine 2017 3(2):47-49 Senior Scientific Researcher at National Center for Scientific Research “Demokritos” and Co-Founder of the Spin Of company Syndesis Ltd, AgiaParaskevi, Athens, GREECE. Dr. Homer Papadopoulos holds a Physics degree and a Pre PhD on Telecommunications from the University of Athens and a Bio-design Graduate Certificate from Stanford University US. He has an MBA at Warwick University and he holds a PhD from IS/IT Department of Bath University UK. Dr. Papadopoulos is working for NCSR “Demokritos” www.demokritos.gr, in the Division of Applied Technologies and in the Institute of Informatics and Telecommunications, for almost two decades managing various European funded Research programs within the fields of e-services, mobile services and technologies and broadband telecommunication networks. Dr. Papadopoulos' research interests concern the domains of medical informatics, human computer interfaces for the ageing population, Internet of Things platforms and ontologies, wearable technologies, web services, machine learning and Big data platforms, ehealth and unobtrusive monitoring services. A web based integrated platform (www.iwelli.com) which enables ehealth, mhealth and IoT services in parallel with intelligent algorithms to provide Decision Support Services to Professionals has been developed and is under pilot validation within real settings. Dr. Papadopoulos has a track record of success in income generation from EU and National funded projects, while he acting as the principal investigator and coordinator in EU R&D funded projects like the www.usefil.eu project. He has published several papers in journals and international conferences. He is coordinating the European Innovation Partnership on Active Healthy Ageing, (supported by the European Union) Synergy group and A1 group for ICT technologies in Adherence in polypharmacy and medical plans. He is Co-founder of the NCSR “Demokritos” spin off company Syndesis LTD. Syndesis (www.sydnesis.eu) intends to apply the research results and develops ehealth/assistive living state of the art technologies and applications. Dr. Papadopoulos is also an expert at the World Health Organization (WHO) Public Health Emergency Operations Centre Network (EOC-NET).

Pub.: 18 Sep '17, Pinned: 24 Dec '17

Hospital-Confirmed Acute Myocardial Infarction: Prehospital Identification Using the Medical Priority Dispatch System.

Abstract: Introduction Early recognition of an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) can increase the patient's likelihood of survival. As the first point of contact for patients accessing medical care through emergency services, emergency medical dispatchers (EMDs) represent the earliest potential identification point for AMIs. The objective of the study was to determine how AMI cases were coded and prioritized at the dispatch point, and also to describe the distribution of these cases by patient age and gender. Hypothesis/Problem No studies currently exist that describe the EMD's ability to correctly triage AMIs into Advanced Life Support (ALS) response tiers.The retrospective descriptive study utilized data from three sources: emergency medical dispatch, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and emergency departments (EDs)/hospitals. The primary outcome measure was the distributions of AMI cases, as categorized by Chief Complaint Protocol, dispatch priority code and level, and patient age and gender. The EMS and ED/hospital data came from the Utah Department of Health (UDoH), Salt Lake City, Utah. Dispatch data came from two emergency communication centers covering the entirety of Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County, Utah.Overall, 89.9% of all the AMIs (n=606) were coded in one of the three highest dispatch priority levels, all of which call for ALS response (called CHARLIE, DELTA, and ECHO in the studied system). The percentage of AMIs significantly increased for patients aged 35 years and older, and varied significantly by gender, dispatch level, and chief complaint. A total of 85.7% of all deaths occurred among patients aged 55 years and older, and 88.9% of the deaths were handled in the ALS-recommended priority levels.Acute myocardial infarctions may present as a variety of clinical symptoms, and the study findings demonstrated that more than one-half were identified as having chief complaints of Chest Pain or Breathing Problems at the dispatch point, followed by Sick Person and Unconscious/Fainting. The 35-year age cutoff for assignment to higher priority levels is strongly supported. The Falls and Sick Person Protocols offer opportunities to capture atypical AMI presentations. Clawson JJ , Gardett I , Scott G , Fivaz C , Barron T , Broadbent M , Olola C . Hospital-confirmed acute myocardial infarction: prehospital identification using the Medical Priority Dispatch System.

Pub.: 11 Dec '17, Pinned: 24 Dec '17

The effect and associated factors of dispatcher recognition of stroke: A retrospective observational study.

Abstract: Details of the communication between the caller and dispatcher have not been reported previously in Taiwan. This study aimed to: (1) understand the details of the communication between the caller and dispatcher among the calls for stroke patients, (2) identify factors associated with stroke recognition by dispatchers, and (3) evaluate the association between stroke recognition by dispatchers and stroke management.We conducted a retrospective observational study involving patients with stroke or transient ischemic stroke transported by the emergency medical service, and arriving at 9 hospitals in Taipei within 3 h of symptom onset from January 1, 2013 to February 28, 2014. Patients were excluded if tape-recording data or prehospital information were not available. Data of the enrolled patients were reviewed. We used stroke dispatch determination as the surrogate for stroke recognition by dispatchers. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify the factors associated with stroke dispatch determination.A total of 507 patients were included. In approximately 50% of cases, callers were close family members. Ninety-one patients (17.9%) had stroke dispatch determination. After adjustment, stroke reported spontaneously, any symptom included in the Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale reported spontaneously, and dispatcher adherence to the protocol, were associated with stroke dispatch determination significantly. Stroke dispatch determination was associated with receiving pre-arrival notification, shorter door-to-computed tomography time, and thrombolytic therapy.The dispatchers should spend more time identifying stroke patients by following the dispatch protocol. Recognition of stroke by dispatchers was associated with improved stroke care.

Pub.: 22 Nov '17, Pinned: 24 Dec '17

Time Gain Needed for In-Ambulance Telemedicine: Cost-Utility Model.

Abstract: Stroke is a very time-sensitive pathology, and many new solutions target the optimization of prehospital stroke care to improve the stroke management process. In-ambulance telemedicine, defined by live bidirectional audio-video between a patient and a neurologist in a moving ambulance and the automated transfer of vital parameters, is a promising new approach to speed up and improve the quality of acute stroke care. Currently, no evidence exists on the cost effectiveness of in-ambulance telemedicine.We aim to develop a first cost effectiveness model for in-ambulance telemedicine and use this model to estimate the time savings needed before in-ambulance telemedicine becomes cost effective.Current standard stroke care is compared with current standard stroke care supplemented with in-ambulance telemedicine using a cost-utility model measuring costs and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) from a health care perspective. We combine a decision tree with a Markov model. Data from the UZ Brussel Stroke Registry (2282 stroke patients) and linked hospital claims data at individual level are combined with literature data to populate the model. A 2-way sensitivity analysis varying both implementation costs and time gain is performed to map the different cost-effective combinations and identify the time gain needed for cost effectiveness and dominance. For several modeled time gains, the cost-effectiveness acceptability curve is calculated and mapped in 1 figure.Under the base-case scenario (implementation cost of US $159,425) and taking a lifetime horizon into account, in-ambulance telemedicine is a cost-effective strategy compared to standard stroke care alone starting from a time gain of 6 minutes. After 12 minutes, in-ambulance telemedicine becomes dominant, and this results in a mean decrease of costs by US -$30 (95% CI -$32 to -$29) per patient with 0.00456 (95% CI 0.00448 to 0.00463) QALYs on average gained per patient. In over 82% of all probabilistic simulations, in-ambulance telemedicine remains under the cost-effectiveness threshold of US $47,747.Our model suggests that in-ambulance telemedicine can be cost effective starting from a time gain of 6 minutes and becomes a dominant strategy after approximately 15 minutes. This indicates that in-ambulance telemedicine has the potential to become a cost-effective intervention assuming time gains in clinical implementations are realized in the future.

Pub.: 28 Nov '17, Pinned: 23 Dec '17

'She's sort of breathing': what linguistic factors determine call-taker recognition of agonal breathing in emergency calls for cardiac arrest?

Abstract: In emergency ambulance calls, agonal breathing remains a barrier to the recognition of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), initiation of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and rapid dispatch. We aimed to explore whether the language used by callers to describe breathing had an impact on call-taker recognition of agonal breathing and hence cardiac arrest.We analysed 176 calls of paramedic-confirmed OHCA, stratified by recognition of OHCA (89 cases recognised, 87 cases not recognised). We investigated the linguistic features of callers' response to the question "is s/he breathing?" and examined the impact on subsequent coding by call-takers.Among all cases (recognised and non-recognised), 64% (113/176) of callers said that the patients were breathing (yes-answers). We identified two categories of yes-answers: 56% (63/113) were plain answers, confirming that the patient was breathing ("he's breathing"); and 44% (50/113) were qualified answers, containing additional information ("yes but gasping"). Qualified yes-answers were suggestive of agonal breathing. Yet these answers were often not pursued and most (32/50) of these calls were not recognised as OHCA at dispatch.There is potential for improved recognition of agonal breathing if call-takers are trained to be alert to any qualification following a confirmation that the patient is breathing.

Pub.: 01 Dec '17, Pinned: 23 Dec '17

Evaluating Dispatch-Assisted CPR Using the CARES Registry.

Abstract: Dispatch-assisted cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DA-CPR) has been shown to improve cardiac arrest survival. Recent literature has proposed dispatch metrics for provision of this intervention. Our objectives are to: use the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES) to compare current practice to proposed DA-CPR guidelines; describe barriers to DA-CPR; and assess the association of DA-CPR with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) survival.We reviewed data from structured dispatch reviews of 911 OHCA calls from 1/1/14-12/31/15. Dispatch data including whether dispatch CPR instruction was given, and time intervals to CPR instruction and provision were linked with OHCA data elements from field cardiac arrest process and outcome data. Descriptive data on barriers to dispatch-caller instruction and measures of dispatcher performance were calculated. We compared outcome of patients who received bystander CPR prior to the 911 call (BCPR), after dispatcher CPR instructions (DA-CPR), and not until Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrival (no BCPR).We identified 3335 cases from 32 dispatch agencies in 9 states that had dispatch and outcome data. CPR was performed prior to the 911 call by a bystander in 496 (14.9%) cases. Of all calls where the dispatcher talked to a bystander, dispatchers recognized cardiac arrest in 82.9% cases (1514/1827), with 31.6% calls recognized in <60 seconds. DA-CPR instructions were initiated in most (1320/1514, 87.2%) cases, and cardiac compressions were initiated in 73.7% (973/1320). DA-CPR was performed < two minutes in 21.4% of cases. In a multivariable analysis, BCPR (CPR prior to EMS arrival without instructions given) was associated with significantly improved patient survival (OR = 1.49, 95% CI 1.09, 2.04), and DA-CPR a non-significant improvement in survival to discharge (OR = 1.19, 95% CI 0.91, 1.56).Temporal measures of dispatch performance were substantially below proposed national standards. In this population, OHCA was frequently recognized and DA-CPR performed but was not associated with a significant improvement in survival.

Pub.: 09 Dec '17, Pinned: 22 Dec '17

Effectiveness of dispatcher training in increasing bystander chest compression for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients in Japan

Abstract: The Japanese government has developed a standardized training program for emergency call dispatchers to improve their skills in providing oral guidance on chest compression to bystanders who have witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs). This study evaluated the effects of such a training program for emergency call dispatchers in Japan.The analysis included all consecutive non-traumatic OHCA patients transported to hospital by eight emergency medical services, where the program was implemented as a pilot project. We compared the provision of oral guidance and the incidence of chest compression applications by bystanders in the 1-month period before and after the program. Data collection was undertaken from October 2014 to March 2015.The 532 non-traumatic OHCA cases were used for analysis: these included 249 cases before and 283 after the guidance intervention. Most patients were over 75 years old and were men. After the program, provision of oral guidance to callers slightly increased from 63% of cases to 69% (P = 0.13) and implementation of chest compression on patients by bystanders significantly increased from 40% to 52% (P = 0.01). Appropriate chest compression also increased from 34% to 47% (P = 0.01). In analysis stratified by the provision of oral guidance, increased chest compressions were observed only under oral guidance.We found increased provision of oral guidance by dispatchers and increased appropriate chest compressions by bystanders after the training program for dispatchers had been rolled out. Long-term observation and further data analysis, including patient outcomes, are needed.

Pub.: 07 Aug '17, Pinned: 04 Nov '17

Exploring the psychological health of emergency dispatch centre operatives: a systematic review and narrative synthesis.

Abstract: The study objective was to investigate and synthesize available evidence relating to the psychological health of Emergency Dispatch Centre (EDC) operatives, and to identify key stressors experienced by EDC operatives.Eight electronic databases (Embase, PubMed, Medline, CINAHL, PsycInfo, PsycArticles, The Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Collection, and Google Scholar) were searched. All study designs were included, and no date limits were set. Studies were included if they were published in English, and explored the psychological health of any EDC operatives, across fire, police, and emergency medical services. Studies were excluded if they related solely to other emergency workers, such as police officers or paramedics. Methodological quality of included studies was assessed using checklists adapted from the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme. A narrative synthesis was conducted, using thematic analysis.A total of 16 articles were included in the review. Two overarching themes were identified during the narrative synthesis: 'Organisational and Operational Factors' and 'Interactions with Others'. Stressors identified included being exposed to traumatic calls, lacking control over high workload, and working in under-resourced and pressured environments. Lack of support from management and providing an emotionally demanding service were additional sources of stress. Peer support and social support from friends and family were helpful in managing work-related stress.EDC operatives experience stress as a result of their work, which appears to be related to negative psychological health outcomes. Future research should explore the long-term effects of this stress, and the potential for workplace interventions to alleviate the negative impacts on psychological health.CRD42014010806.

Pub.: 25 Oct '17, Pinned: 26 Oct '17

The Use of Telepsychiatry to Provide Cost-Efficient Care During Pediatric Mental Health Emergencies.

Abstract: This study evaluated a videoconference-based psychiatric emergency consultation program (telepsychiatry) at geographically dispersed emergency department (ED) sites that are part of the network of care of an academic children's hospital system. The study compared program outcomes with those of usual care involving ambulance transport to the hospital for in-person psychiatric emergency consultation prior to disposition to inpatient care or discharge home.This study compared process outcomes in a cross-sectional, pre-post design at five network-of-care sites before and after systemwide implementation of telepsychiatry consultation in 2015. Clinical records on 494 pediatric psychiatric emergencies included ED length of stay, disposition/discharge, and hospital system charges. Satisfaction surveys regarding telepsychiatry consultations were completed by providers and parents or guardians.Compared with children who received usual care, children who received telepsychiatry consultations had significantly shorter median ED lengths of stay (5.5 hours and 8.3 hours, respectively, p<.001) and lower total patient charges ($3,493 and $8,611, p<.001). Providers and patient caregivers reported high satisfaction with overall acceptability, effectiveness, and efficiency of telepsychiatry. No safety concerns were indicated based on readmissions within 72 hours in either treatment condition.Measured by charges and time, telepsychiatry consultations for pediatric psychiatric emergencies were cost-efficient from a hospital system perspective compared with usual care consisting of ambulance transport for in-person consultation at a children's hospital main campus. Telepsychiatry also improved clinical and operational efficiency and patient and family experience, and it showed promise for increasing access to other specialized health care needs.

Pub.: 17 Oct '17, Pinned: 24 Oct '17

Sizing capacity levels in emergency medical services dispatch centers: Using the newsvendor approach.

Abstract: The increased volume in demand worldwide in the present day has led to the need for the establishment of effective ambulance services. As call centers have become the primary contact point between patients and emergency service providers, the planning of the call center has become a key task for administrators.The aim of this study is to apply a widely used operations management method, the newsvendor model, for optimizing the capacity level in EMS call centers with a minimum cost in order to efficiently meet the calls arriving.Real-life data from a call center for ambulance services in a major city in Turkey was used. We propose using the newsvendor model for optimizing this call center's capacity level based on the forecasts of periodic call volumes via basic methods.Ambulance service call volumes vary during the day and weekday call profiles are different from weekends. By separating the analysis into weekdays and weekends and illustrating shorter time intervals within the days, call volume can be forecast. Taking not only the point forecast but also the variation of the forecast into account, the capacity level of each period can be planned in a cost-effective way.This paper provides a basis for operation planning strategies of ambulance services by reconsidering the uncertainties of demand. The newsvendor model, which works well under parameter uncertainty, can be used in planning the capacities of health care services, especially when high service levels are required.

Pub.: 23 Oct '17, Pinned: 24 Oct '17

Barriers and facilitators to public access defibrillation in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: a systematic review.

Abstract: Public access defibrillation initiatives make automated external defibrillators available to the public. This facilitates earlier defibrillation of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims and could save many lives. It is currently only used for a minority of cases. The aim of this systematic review was to identify barriers and facilitators to public access defibrillation. A comprehensive literature review was undertaken defining formal search terms for a systematic review of the literature in March 2017. Studies were included if they considered reasons affecting the likelihood of public access defibrillation and presented original data. An electronic search strategy was devised searching MEDLINE and EMBASE, supplemented by bibliography and related-article searches. Given the low-quality and observational nature of the majority of articles, a narrative review was performed. Sixty-four articles were identified in the initial literature search. An additional four unique articles were identified from the electronic search strategies. The following themes were identified related to public access defibrillation: knowledge and awareness; willingness to use; acquisition and maintenance; availability and accessibility; training issues; registration and regulation; medicolegal issues; emergency medical services dispatch-assisted use of automated external defibrillators; automated external defibrillator-locator systems; demographic factors; other behavioural factors. In conclusion, several barriers and facilitators to public access defibrillation deployment were identified. However, the evidence is of very low quality and there is not enough information to inform changes in practice. This is an area in urgent need of further high-quality research if public access defibrillation is to be increased and more lives saved. PROSPERO registration number CRD42016035543.

Pub.: 19 Oct '17, Pinned: 21 Oct '17

The potential use of unmanned aircraft systems (drones) in mountain search and rescue operations.

Abstract: This study explores the potential use of drones in searching for and locating victims and of motorized transportation of search and rescue providers in a mountain environment using a simulation model.This prospective randomized simulation study was performed in order to compare two different search and rescue techniques in searching for an unconscious victim on snow-covered ground. In the control arm, the Classical Line Search Technique (CLT) was used, in which the search is performed on foot and the victim is reached on foot. In the intervention arm, the Drone-snowmobile Technique (DST) was used, the search being performed by drone and the victim reached by snowmobile. The primary outcome of the study was the comparison of the two search and rescue techniques in terms of first human contact time.Twenty search and rescue operations were conducted in this study. Median time to arrival at the mannequin was 57.3min for CLT, compared to 8.9min for DST. The median value of the total searched area was 88,322.0m(2) for CLT and 228,613.0m(2) for DST. The median area searched per minute was 1489.6m(2) for CLT and 32,979.9m(2) for DST (p<0.01 for all comparisons).In conclusion, a wider area can be searched faster by drone using DST compared to the classical technique, and the victim can be located faster and reached earlier with rescuers transported by snowmobile.

Pub.: 21 Sep '17, Pinned: 02 Oct '17

Accuracy of Emergency Medical Services Dispatcher and Crew Diagnosis of Stroke in Clinical Practice.

Abstract: Accurate recognition of stroke symptoms by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is necessary for timely care of acute stroke patients. We assessed the accuracy of stroke diagnosis by EMS in clinical practice in a major US city.Philadelphia Fire Department data were merged with data from a single comprehensive stroke center to identify patients diagnosed with stroke or TIA from 9/2009 to 10/2012. Sensitivity and positive predictive value (PPV) were calculated. Multivariable logistic regression identified variables associated with correct EMS diagnosis. There were 709 total cases, with 400 having a discharge diagnosis of stroke or TIA. EMS crew sensitivity was 57.5% and PPV was 69.1%. EMS crew identified 80.2% of strokes with National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) ≥5 and symptom duration <6 h. In a multivariable model, correct EMS crew diagnosis was positively associated with NIHSS (NIHSS 5-9, OR 2.62, 95% CI 1.41-4.89; NIHSS ≥10, OR 4.56, 95% CI 2.29-9.09) and weakness (OR 2.28, 95% CI 1.35-3.85), and negatively associated with symptom duration >270 min (OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.25-0.68). EMS dispatchers identified 90 stroke cases that the EMS crew missed. EMS dispatcher or crew identified stroke with sensitivity of 80% and PPV of 50.9%, and EMS dispatcher or crew identified 90.5% of patients with NIHSS ≥5 and symptom duration <6 h.Prehospital diagnosis of stroke has limited sensitivity, resulting in a high proportion of missed stroke cases. Dispatchers identified many strokes that EMS crews did not. Incorporating EMS dispatcher impression into regional protocols may maximize the effectiveness of hospital destination selection and pre-notification.

Pub.: 30 Sep '17, Pinned: 02 Oct '17

Validation of a Dispatch Protocol with Continuous Quality Control for Cardiac Arrest: A Before-and-After Study at a City Fire Department-Based Dispatch Center.

Abstract: An optimized protocol to help dispatchers identify potential cases of cardiac arrest and provide phone instructions for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may increase the provision of bystander CPR, further improving the survival rate and neurological outcomes.We assessed a revised dispatcher-assisted (DA)-CPR protocol with a continuous quality-improvement feature in a county fire department-based emergency medical services system.This was a before-and-after intervention prospective study conducted in Taoyuan City, Taiwan. The participants were out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) patients from November 2014 to February 2016. Interventional quality control started in August 2015. Approximately 10% of the telephone calls from these OHCA patients were reviewed.In total, 66 and 64 cases were included in the before- and after-intervention groups, respectively. No significant differences were observed in sex, age, day, and time of events, or languages spoken by the callers. After the intervention, we found significant improvements in the rates at which cardiac arrests were recognized (54.5% vs. 68.8%; p = 0.007) and normal breathing was checked (51.5% vs. 76.6%, p = 0.003). Moreover, the frequency with which DA-CPR was provided by the dispatchers improved significantly (50.0% vs. 72.7%; p = 0.046). Significant improvement in patient outcomes was observed with regard to 24-h survival (7.6% vs. 20.3%, p = 0.036) but not with regard to survival to discharge (3.0% vs. 10.9%, p = 0.076).The study found this DA-CPR protocol, which includes continuous quality control, is promising as it improved the successful recognition of cardiac arrests.

Pub.: 26 Sep '17, Pinned: 29 Sep '17

Telephone Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation is Independently Associated with Improved Survival and Improved Functional Outcome after Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest.

Abstract: This study aims to quantify the relative impact of Dispatcher-Initiated Telephone cardiopulmonary resuscitation (TCPR) on survival and survival with favorable functional outcome after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in a population of patients served by multiple emergency dispatch centers and more than 130 emergency medical services (EMS) agencies.We conducted a prospective, observational study of EMS-treated adult (≥18 years) patients with OHCA of presumed cardiac origin in Arizona, between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2014. We compared survival and functional outcome among three distinct groups of OHCA patients: those who received no CPR before EMS arrival (no CPR group); those who received BCPR before EMS arrival and prior to or without telephone CPR instructions (BCPR group); and those who received TCPR (TCPR group).In this study, 2310 of 4391 patients met the study criteria (median age, 62 years; IQR 50, 74; 1540 male). 32.8% received no CPR, 23.8% received BCPR and 43.4% received TCPR. Overall survival was 11.5%. Using no CPR as the reference group, the multivariate adjusted odds ratio for survival at hospital discharge was 1.51 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04, 2.18) for BCPR and 1.64 (95% CI, 1.16, 2.30) for TCPR. The multivariate adjusted odds ratio of favorable functional outcome at discharge was 1.58 (95% CI 1.05, 2.39) for BCPR and 1.56 (95% CI, 1.06, 2.31) for TCPR.TCPR is independently associated with improved survival and improved functional outcome after OHCA.

Pub.: 30 Jul '17, Pinned: 02 Aug '17

The linguistic and interactional factors impacting recognition and dispatch in emergency calls for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: a mixed-method linguistic analysis study protocol.

Abstract: Emergency telephone calls placed by bystanders are crucial to the recognition of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), fast ambulance dispatch and initiation of early basic life support. Clear and efficient communication between caller and call-taker is essential to this time-critical emergency, yet few studies have investigated the impact that linguistic factors may have on the nature of the interaction and the resulting trajectory of the call. This research aims to provide a better understanding of communication factors impacting on the accuracy and timeliness of ambulance dispatch.A dataset of OHCA calls and their corresponding metadata will be analysed from an interdisciplinary perspective, combining linguistic analysis and health services research. The calls will be transcribed and coded for linguistic and interactional variables and then used to answer a series of research questions about the recognition of OHCA and the delivery of basic life-support instructions to bystanders. Linguistic analysis of calls will provide a deeper understanding of the interactional dynamics between caller and call-taker which may affect recognition and dispatch for OHCA. Findings from this research will translate into recommendations for modifications of the protocols for ambulance dispatch and provide directions for further research.The study has been approved by the Curtin University Human Research Ethics Committee (HR128/2013) and the St John Ambulance Western Australia Research Advisory Group. Findings will be published in peer-reviewed journals and communicated to key audiences, including ambulance dispatch professionals.

Pub.: 12 Jul '17, Pinned: 14 Jul '17

Identifying Key Words in 9-1-1 Calls for Stroke: A Mixed Methods Approach.

Abstract: Identifying stroke during a 9-1-1 call is critical to timely prehospital care. However, emergency medical dispatchers (EMDs) recognize stroke in less than half of 9-1-1 calls, potentially due to the words used by callers to communicate stroke signs and symptoms. We hypothesized that callers do not typically use words and phrases considered to be classical descriptors of stroke, such as focal neurologic deficits, but that a mixed-methods approach can identify words and phrases commonly used by 9-1-1 callers to describe acute stroke victims.We performed a mixed-method, retrospective study of 9-1-1 call audio recordings for adult patients with confirmed stroke who were transported by ambulance in a large urban city. Content analysis, a qualitative methodology, and computational linguistics, a quantitative methodology, were used to identify key words and phrases used by 9-1-1 callers to describe acute stroke victims. Because a caller's level of emotional distress contributes to the communication during a 9-1-1 call, the Emotional Content and Cooperation Score was scored by a multidisciplinary team.A total of 110 9-1-1 calls, received between June and September 2013, were analyzed. EMDs recognized stroke in 48% of calls, and the emotional state of most callers (95%) was calm. In 77% of calls in which EMDs recognized stroke, callers specifically used the word "stroke"; however, the word "stroke" was used in only 38% of calls. Vague, non-specific words and phrases were used to describe stroke victims' symptoms in 55% of calls, and 45% of callers used distractor words and phrases suggestive of non-stroke emergencies. Focal neurologic symptoms were described in 39% of calls. Computational linguistics identified 9 key words that were more commonly used in calls where the EMD identified stroke. These words were concordant with terms identified through qualitative content analysis.Most 9-1-1 callers used vague, non-specific, or distractor words and phrases and infrequently provide classic stroke descriptions during 9-1-1 calls for stroke. Both qualitative and quantitative methodologies identified similar key words and phrases associated with accurate EMD stroke recognition. This study suggests that tools incorporating commonly used words and phrases could potentially improve EMD stroke recognition.

Pub.: 01 Jul '17, Pinned: 02 Jul '17

No Calm After the Storm: A Systematic Review of Human Health Following Flood and Storm Disasters.

Abstract: Introduction How the burden of disease varies during different phases after floods and after storms is essential in order to guide a medical response, but it has not been well-described. The objective of this review was to elucidate the health problems following flood and storm disasters.A literature search of the databases Medline (US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, Maryland USA); Cinahl (EBSCO Information Services; Ipswich, Massachusetts USA); Global Health (EBSCO Information Services; Ipswich, Massachusetts USA); Web of Science Core Collection (Thomson Reuters; New York, New York USA); Embase (Elsevier; Amsterdam, Netherlands); and PubMed (National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, Maryland USA) was conducted in June 2015 for English-language research articles on morbidity or mortality and flood or storm disasters. Articles on mental health, interventions, and rescue or health care workers were excluded. Data were extracted from articles that met the eligibility criteria and analyzed by narrative synthesis.The review included 113 studies. Poisonings, wounds, gastrointestinal infections, and skin or soft tissue infections all increased after storms. Gastrointestinal infections were more frequent after floods. Leptospirosis and diabetes-related complications increased after both. The majority of changes occurred within four weeks of floods or storms.Health changes differently after floods and after storms. There is a lack of data on the health effects of floods alone, long-term changes in health, and the strength of the association between disasters and health problems. This review highlights areas of consideration for medical response and the need for high-quality, systematic research in this area. Saulnier DD , Brolin Ribacke K , von Schreeb J . No calm after the storm: a systematic review of human health following flood and storm disasters. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2017;32(5):1-12.

Pub.: 14 Jun '17, Pinned: 14 Jun '17

'Tell me exactly what's happened': when linguistic choices affect the efficiency of emergency calls for cardiac arrest.

Abstract: Clear and efficient communication between emergency caller and call-taker is crucial to timely ambulance dispatch. We aimed to explore the impact of linguistic variation in the delivery of the prompt "okay, tell me exactly what happened" on the way callers describe the emergency in the Medical Priority Dispatch System(®).We analysed 188 emergency calls for cases of paramedic-confirmed out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. We investigated the linguistic features of the prompt "okay, tell me exactly what happened" in relation to the format (report vs. narrative) of the caller's response. In addition, we compared calls with report vs. narrative responses in the length of response and time to dispatch.Callers were more likely to respond with a report format when call-takers used the present perfect ("what's happened") rather than the simple past ("what happened") (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] 4.07; 95% Confidence Interval [95%CI] 2.05-8.28, p<0.001). Reports were significantly shorter than narrative responses (9seconds vs. 18seconds, p<0.001), and were associated with less time to dispatch (50s vs. 58s, p=0.002).These results suggest that linguistic variations in the way the scripted sentences of a protocol are delivered can have an impact on the efficiency with which call-takers process emergency calls. A better understanding of interactional dynamics between caller and call-taker may translate into improvements of dispatch performance.

Pub.: 11 Jun '17, Pinned: 13 Jun '17