Decision support system in prehospital care: a randomized controlled simulation study

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Abstract

Introduction:

Prehospital emergency medicine is a challenging discipline characterized by a high level of acuity, a lack of clinical information and a wide range of clinical conditions. These factors contribute to the fact that prehospital emergency medicine is a high-risk discipline in terms of medical errors. Prehospital use of Computerized Decision Support System (CDSS) may be a way to increase patient safety but very few studies evaluate the effect in prehospital care. The aim of the present study is to evaluate a CDSS.

Methods:

In this non-blind block randomized, controlled trial, 60 ambulance nurses participated, randomized into 2 groups. To compensate for an expected learning effect the groups was further divided in two groups, one started with case A and the other group started with case B. The intervention group had access to and treated the two simulated patient cases with the aid of a CDSS. The control group treated the same cases with the aid of a regional guideline in paper format. The performance that was measured was compliance with regional prehospital guidelines and On Scene Time (OST).

Results:

There was no significant difference in the two group's characteristics. The intervention group had a higher compliance in the both cases, 80% vs. 60% (p < 0.001) but the control group was complete the cases in the half of the time compare to the intervention group (p < 0.001).

Conclusion:

The results indicate that this CDSS increases the ambulance nurses' compliance with regional prehospital guidelines but at the expense of an increase in OST.

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