Mobile Phone Use for Contacting Emergency Services in Life-threatening Circumstances

From the Journal of Emergency Medicine:

Background: The potential health benefits of mobile phone use have not been widely studied, except for telemedicine-type applications.

Study Objectives: This study seeks to determine whether initial contact with emergency services via a mobile phone in life-threatening situations is associated with potential health benefits when compared to contact via a landline.

Methods: A record-linkage study was carried out in which data from all emergency dispatches for immediately life-threatening events from a United Kingdom county ambulance service were linked to the Patient Admission System at two major local hospitals. Mortality (at the scene, at the emergency department [ED], and during hospitalization); transfer to the ED; admission (inpatient care, and intensive care unit); and length of stay were analyzed for calls classified as Code Red (immediately life-threatening) by initial exposure (mobile phone vs. landline), while controlling for potential confounding variables.

Results: Of 354,199 ambulances dispatched to attend emergency incidents, 66% transported patients to the hospital while 2% stood down due to death at the scene. Mobile phone compared to landline reporting of emergencies resulted in significant reductions in the risk of death at the scene (odds ratio [OR] 0.77), but not for death in the ED or during inpatient admission. The risk of being transferred to the ED and subsequent inpatient admission were significantly lower with reporting from mobile phones compared to landline (OR 0.93 and OR 0.82, respectively).

Conclusions: In this study, evidence of statistical association was demonstrated between the use of mobile phones to alert ambulance services in life-threatening situations and improved outcomes for patients.

Work-Related Stress and Posttraumatic Stress in Emergency Medical Services

From Prehospital Emergency Care:

Introduction. Recent research efforts in emergency medical services (EMS) has identified variability in the ability of EMS personnel to recognize their level of stress-related impairment. Developing a better understanding of how workplace stress may affect EMS personnel is a key step in the process of increasing awareness of the impact of work-related stress and stress-related impairment. Objective. This paper demonstrates that for those in EMS, exposure to several types of workplace stressors is linked to stress reactions. Stress reactions such as posttraumatic stress symptomatology (PTSS) have the potential to negatively influence the health of EMS providers. This research demonstrates that two different types of work-related stress and alcohol use influence the development of PTSS. Methods. A probability sample of nationally registered emergency medical technician (EMT)-Basics and EMT-Paramedics (n == 1,633) completed an Internet-based survey. Respondents reported their levels of operational and organizational types of chronic stress, critical incident stress, alcohol use, and PTSS. Results. Ordinary least squares regression illustrated that when demographic factors were controlled, organizational and operational forms of chronic stress, critical incident stress, and alcohol use were all significant predictors of PTSS (p < 0.01). Inclusion of an interaction effect between operational stress and critical incident stress (p < 0.01) as well as between operational stress and alcohol use (p < 0.01) created a robust final model with an R2 of 0.343. Conclusion. These findings indicate that exposure to both chronic and critical incident stressors increases the risk of EMS providers’ developing a posttraumatic stress reaction. Higher levels of chronic stress, critical incident stress, and alcohol use significantly related to an increased level of PTSS. Further, for those reporting high levels of alcohol use or critical incident stress, interactions with high levels of chronic operational stress were associated with higher rates of PTSS. For those interested in the impact of work-related stress in EMS, these findings indicate that attention must be paid to levels of stress associated with both critical incident exposure as well as the chronic stress providers experience on a day-to-day basis.

Wireless devices in ambulances expedite emergency heart treatment at St. Joseph

From BCTV:

Patients experiencing chest pain because of a heart problem have blockages cleared 17 minutes faster, on average, at St. Joseph Medical Center in Bern Township when the ambulance sends a wireless EKG from the scene to St. Joseph’s emergency room.

Hospital diverts ER patients after computer virus hits

From Fierce Healthcare:

A system-wide computer virus was to blame when Georgia’s Gwinnett Medical Center had to switch to paperwork and therefore divert its emergency room (ER) and trauma patients to other hospitals last week. The virus caused patients to wait longer at registration and slowed down other departments, including pharmacy, radiology, and the lab. The hospital is now accepting patients, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.