• Decision making and safety in ambulance service transitions

      O'Hara, Rachel; Johnson, Maxine; Hirst, Enid; Weyman, Andrew; Shaw, Deborah; Mortimer, Peter; Newman, Chris; Storey, Matthew; Turner, Janette; Mason, Suzanne; et al. (2015-05)
      Introduction Decisions made by ambulance staff are often timecritical and based on limited information. Wrong decisions could have serious consequences for patients but little is known about areas of risk associated with decisions about patient care. We aimed to examine system in fluences on decision making in the ambulance service setting focusing on paramedic roles. Method An exploratory mixed methods qualitative study was conducted in three Ambulance Service Trusts. A document search and 16 interviews were conducted to understand service delivery in each Trust, how they link with other services and potential influences on decisions about patient care. Researchers observed ambulance crews on 34 shifts and 10 paramedics completed ‘digital diaries’ to report challenges for decision making or patient safety. Three focus groups with staff (N=21) and three with service users (N=23) were held to explore their views on decision making and patient safety. Data were charted to produce a typology of decisions then coded and thematically analysed to identify in fluences on those decisions. Findings Nine types of decision were identi fied, ranging from specialist emergency pathways to non-conveyance. In fluences on these decisions included communication with Control Room staff; patient assessment, decision support and alternative options to ED conveyance. Seven main issues in fluencing patient safety in decision making were identi fied: meeting demand; performance and priorities; access to care options; risk aversion; education, training and professional development for crews; communication and feedback to crews; resources and safety culture. Conclusions A range of decisions are made by ambulance staff in complex, time bound changing conditions. Training and development and access to alternative options to ED conveyance were identi fied as particularly important issues. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/32/5/e2.1.full.pdf This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2015-204880.4
    • Does the pandemic medical early warning score system correlate with disposition decisions made at patient contact by emergency care practitioners?

      Gray, J.T; Challen, K.; Oughton, L. (2010-12)
      Objective To assess the performance of the pandemic medical early warning score (PMEWS) in a cohort of adult patients seen in the community by emergency care practitioners (ECP) and its correlation with ECP decision-making to either ‘treat and leave’ or transfer for hospital assessment. Methods Cases attended by ECP in South Yorkshire in 2007 in which the final ECP working diagnosis was a respiratory condition were retrospectively identified from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service database. The patient report forms were reviewed for the PMEWS variables and scores calculated using the PMEWS system. The outcome measure was management in the community versus transport to hospital. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves were calculated to assess the discrimination of PMEWS. Results A cohort of 300 patients was assessed. 217 (72%) were aged 65 years or over, and 272 (91%) had either comorbid disease or impaired functional status. 98 (33%) were deemed to need hospital assessment or admission. The ROC curves suggested that there is good correlation between the PMEWS score and the decision to discharge. Conclusions PMEWS correlates well with decisions to admit to hospital or leave at home made by extended role practitioners in the patient group studied; however, further prospective work is required to further validate early warning scoring systems in prehospital care. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/27/12/943.full.pdf This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emj.2009.072959
    • Introduction of non-transport guidelines into an ambulance service: a retrospective review

      Gray, J.T.; Wardrope, Jim (2007-10)
      Recent government policy has looked at improving the role of ambulance services in delivering alternative care models for patients. https://emj.bmj.com/content/24/10/727. This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI 10.1136/emj.2007.048850
    • A qualitative study of decision-making and safety in ambulance service transitions

      O'Hara, Rachel; Johnson, Maxine; Hirst, Enid; Weyman, Andrew; Shaw, Deborah; Mortimer, Peter; Newman, Chris; Storey, Matthew; Turner, Janette; Mason, Suzanne; et al. (2014-12)
    • A qualitative study of systemic influences on paramedic decision making : care transitions and patient safety

      Shaw, Deborah; Mortimer, Peter; Newman, Chris; Storey, Matthew; Shewan, Jane; O'Hara, Rachel; Johnson, Maxine; Siriwardena, Aloysius; Weyman, Andrew; Turner, Janette; et al. (2015-01)
    • Thinking on scene: using vignettes to assess the accuracy and rationale of paramedic decision making

      Miles, Jamie; Coster, Joanne; Jacques, Richard (2018-04-16)
      Paramedics make important decisions on-scene as to whether a patient requires transport to hospital, referred, or discharged on scene. Research shows that nearly 20% of patients brought to ED by ambulance, could be treated elsewhere. This study aims to investigate the accuracy of conveyance decisions made by on-scene paramedics. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/Suppl_1/A23.3 This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-EMS.62.
    • Using vignettes to assess the accuracy and rationale of paramedic decisions on conveyance to the emergency department

      Miles, Jamie; Coster, Joanne; Jacques, Richard (2019-06-01)
      Introduction: Paramedics make important decisions about whether a patient needs transport to hospital, or can be discharged on scene. These decisions require a degree of accuracy, as taking low acuity patients to the emergency department (ED) can support ambulance ramping. In contrast, leaving mid‐high acuity patients on scene can lead to incidents and recontact. This study aims to investigate the accuracy of conveyance decisions made by paramedics when looking at real life patient scenarios with known outcomes. It also aims to explore how the paramedic made the decision. Methods: We undertook a prospective mixed method triangulation design. Six individual patient vignettes were created using linked ambulance and ED data. These were then presented in an online survey to paramedics in Yorkshire. Half the vignettes related to mid‐high acuity attendances at the ED and the other half were low acuity. Vignettes were validated by a small expert panel. Participants were asked to determine the appropriate conveyance decision and to explain the rationale behind their decisions using a free-text box. Results: A total of 143 paramedics undertook the survey and 858 vignettes were completed. There was clear agreement between paramedics for transport decisions ( = 0.63). Overall accuracy was 0.69 (95% CI 0.66‐0.73). Paramedics were better at ‘ruling in’ the ED, with sensitivity of 0.89 (95% CI 0.86‐0.92). The specificity of ‘ruling out’ the ED was 0.51 (95% CI 0.46‐0.56). Text comments were focused on patient safety and risk aversion. Discussion: Paramedics make accurate conveyance decisions but are more likely to over-convey than under-convey, meaning that while decisions are safe they are not always appropriate. It is important that paramedics feel supported by the service to make safe and confident non-conveyance decisions. Reducing over-conveyance is a potential method of reducing demand in the urgent and emergency care system. Abstract published with permission.