A novel method of non-clinical dispatch is associated with a higher rate of critical Helicopter Emergency Medical Service intervention

Scott Munro, M. Joy, Richard de Coverley, Mark Salmon, Julia Williams, Richard Lyon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background - Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) are a scarce resource that can provide advanced emergency medical care to unwell or injured patients. Accurate tasking of HEMS is required to incidents where advanced pre-hospital clinical care is needed. We sought to evaluate any association between non-clinically trained dispatchers, following a bespoke algorithm, compared with HEMS paramedic dispatchers with respect to incidents requiring a critical HEMS intervention. Methods - Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data from two 12-month periods was performed (Period one: 1st April 2014 – 1st April 2015; Period two: 1st April 2016 – 1st April 2017). Period 1 was a Paramedic-led dispatch process. Period 2 was a non-clinical HEMS dispatcher assisted by a bespoke algorithm. Kent, Surrey & Sussex HEMS (KSS HEMS) is tasked to approximately 2500 cases annually and operates 24/7 across south-east England. The primary outcome measure was incidence of a HEMS intervention.Results - A total of 4703 incidents were included; 2510 in period one and 2184 in period two. Variation in tasking was reduced by introducing non-clinical dispatchers. There was no difference in median time from 999 call to HEMS activation between period one and two (period one; median 7 min (IQR 4–17) vs period two; median 7 min (IQR 4–18). Non-clinical dispatch improved accuracy of HEMS tasking to a mission where a critical care intervention was required (OR 1.25, 95% CI 1.04–1.51, p = 0.02).Conclusion - The introduction of non-clinical, HEMS-specific dispatch, aided by a bespoke algorithm improved accuracy of HEMS tasking. Further research is warranted to explore where this model could be effective in other HEMS services.
Original languageEnglish
Article number84
Number of pages7
JournalScandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine (SJTREM)
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2018

Keywords

  • Air Ambulances
  • Algorithms
  • Emergency Medical Dispatch/methods
  • Emergency Medical Technicians
  • England
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Patient Selection
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Triage

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