The Use of Information and Communication Technology between Emergency Medical Teams in Emergency Situations: A Systematic Review

Kevin Gormley, Badryah Alshehri*, Karen McCutcheon and Gillian Prue

Following an emergency incident, critically injured patients are often treated by multiple healthcare professionals from Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) over a short period of time. The process of transportation from the site of an incident to definitive health care therefore depends on coordination and information-sharing which is reliant on the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). ICT is essential to ensure the necessary organizational responses to emergency situations by facilitating information-sharing, sustained coordination and collaboration to protect and save the injured. This literature review provides a broad overview which can facilitate an understanding of the experiences between EMTs in emergencies using ICT by systematically finding, reviewing, assessing and synthesizing current evidence. A systematic search guided by PRISMA was performed using relevant electronic databases and manual searches. Studies were limited to original research and only articles published between 2009 and 2021 were included. This review highlights that only a limited number of publications reported ICT use between EMTs in different emergencies in a single study. Fifteen papers were found which reported the experience of coordination and communication using ICT between EMTs in emergency situations in different countries. The findings of these papers indicate that although communication systems during an emergency are crucial, poor quality telecommunications infrastructure affected by difficult weather conditions often led to communication failures between respondents. The majority of these studies highlighted that the use of mobile phones is preferred over other systems due to their multi-functionality. Some of the studies reported issues in coordination between EMTs in which the limited information shared between EMTs affected their preparedness. Furthermore, the review shows that disaster simulation exercises between EMTs are insufficient and require improvement. Future research needs to include the perspectives of emergency operations centre staff along with nurses, physicians and paramedics in a single study to comprehensively explore the EMT response in emergency situations.

Published Date: 2022-07-08; Received Date: 2022-06-08