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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: 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
Author(s): Fitzpatrick, David
Maxwell, Douglas
Craigie, Alan
Keywords: Paramedic
Emergency department
Issue Date: 25-Jun-2018
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.
Abstract: Background 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. Methods 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. Results 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. Conclusion 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.
DOI Link: 10.1186/s12873-018-0168-3
Rights: © The Author(s). 2018 This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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