Feedback on emergency medical dispatching – the ambulance crew experience of a computer based feedback system
© Lindström et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2009
Published: 28 August 2009
The emergency medical dispatcher (EMD) has an important role as the first medical contact in the emergency response system. It's crucial for the EMD to avoid inappropriate assignment of low acuity and thereby cause delay in the ambulance response. However, it is also important to avoid overtriage in the assessment of the call. There is a lack of studies concerning feedback systems to evaluate the assessment of the EMD. The aim of this study is to develope a computer assisted feedback system between emergency medical dispatch centre and ambulances in Stockholm and to evaluate the system from the users view. The feedback system was built around Zenit, Paratus Pocket (touch screen workstations in ambulances) and the Medical Index.
A computer-assisted feedback system based on the Finnish system was developed to fit the Swedish system. Two ambulances located in different rural areas with thirteen nurses and sixteen paramedics participated in the evaluation of the system. Data collection was made by questionnaires and review of 530 feedback events from the ambulance crew. Comparison between the dispatcher and the ambulance response was made using SPSS 16.0.
The results showed that the situation on the scene was in line with the dispatchers code in 66% of the cases. The ambulance crew experience that the feedback system was positive with no barrier to send feedback to the EMD. The ambulance crew also elucidates some improvements for future implementation, like feedback of the results of sending feedback to the EMD.
The computer-assisted feedback system can serve as a tool for evidence-based approach to dispatching. Both the individual work of a dispatcher and the Medical Index can greatly be improved using this simple tool.
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.