Real-time video communication between ambulance paramedic and scene – a simulation-based study

Roman Sonkin, Eli Jaffe, Oren Wacht, Helena Morse, Yuval Bitan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Telemedicine has been widely used in various medical settings including in Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The goal of this study was to assess the possible roles of real-time video communication between paramedics and bystanders at scenes of emergency, in the analysis and treatment of patients. Methods: 44 experienced paramedics participated in a simulation. Participants communicated with the experimenter presenting video clips showing patients that simulated three emergency scenarios: trauma, an unresponsive patient with cardiac arrest, and an opiate overdose. The simulation sessions were conducted through Zoom™, recorded, and then analyzed to document participants’ questions, requests, instructions, and their timings during each scenario. Results: The trauma scenario was assessed most promptly, with instructions to handle the bleeding provided by all paramedics. In the unresponsive patient with cardiac arrest scenario, most of the participants achieved a correct initial diagnosis, and in the opiate overdose scenario over half of paramedics sought visual clinical clues for the differential diagnoses of loss of consciousness and their causes. Additional results show the type of assessment, treatment and diagnosis participants provided in each scenario, and their confidence about situation. Conclusions: The findings show that direct video communication between paramedic and scene may facilitate correct diagnosis, provision of instructions for treatment, and early preparation of medications or equipment. These may decrease time to correct diagnosis and lifesaving treatment and impact patient morbidity and mortality. Moreover, the findings highlight the difference between incidents with higher visual clarity, such as trauma, and conditions that require an extended diagnosis to reveal, such as unresponsive patients. This may also increase the paramedics’ mental preparedness for what is expected at the scene.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1049
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 17 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Emergency Medical Services
  • EMS
  • Magen David Adom
  • MDA
  • Resuscitation
  • Telemedicine
  • Teletriage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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