Citation Fitzpatrick D, Maxwell D & Craigie A (2018) The feasibility, acceptability and preliminary testing of a novel, low-tech intervention to improve pre-hospital data recording for pre-alert and handover to the Emergency Department. BMC Emergency Medicine, 18 (1), Art. No.: 16. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12873-018-0168-3
Poor communication during patient handover is recognised internationally as a root cause of a significant proportion of preventable deaths. Data used in handover is not always easily recorded using ambulance based tablets, particularly in time-critical cases. Paramedics have therefore developed pragmatic workarounds (writing on gloves or scrap paper) to record these data. However, such practices can conflict with policy, data recorded can be variable, easily lost and negatively impact on handover quality.
This study aimed to measure the feasibility and acceptability of a novel, low tech intervention, designed to support clinical information recording and delivery during pre-alert and handover within the pre-hospital and ED setting. A simple pre and post-test design was used with a historical control. Eligible participants included all ambulance clinicians based at one large city Ambulance Station (n = 69) and all nursing and physician staff (n = 99) based in a city Emergency Department.
Twenty five (36%) ambulance clinicians responded to the follow-up survey. Most felt both the pre-alert and handover components of the card were either 'useful-very useful' (n = 23 (92%); and n = 18 (72%) respectively. Nineteen (76%) used the card to record clinical information and almost all (n = 23 (92%) felt it 'useful' to 'very useful' in supporting pre-alert. Similarly, 65% (n = 16) stated they 'often' or 'always' used the card to support handover. For pre-alert information there were improvements in the provision of 8/11 (72.7%) clinical variables. Results from the post-test survey measuring ED staff (n = 37) perceptions of handover demonstrated small (p < 0.05) improvements in handover in 3/5 domains measured.
This novel low-tech intervention was highly acceptable to ambulance clinician participants, improving their data recording and information exchange processes. However, further well conducted studies are required to test the impact of this intervention on information exchange during pre-alert and handover.