+1 Recommend
0 collections
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      Availability of ambulance patient care reports in the emergency department


      BMJ Quality Improvement Reports

      British Publishing Group

      Read this article at

          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.


          Clinical handovers of patient care among healthcare professionals is vulnerable to the loss of important clinical information. A verbal report is typically provided by paramedics and documented by emergency department (ED) triage nurses. Paramedics subsequently complete a patient care report which is submitted electronically. This emergency medical system (EMS) patient care report often contains details of paramedic assessment and management that is not all captured in the nursing triage note. EMS patient care reports are often unavailable for review by emergency physicians and nurses.

          Two processes occur in the distribution of EMS patient care reports. The first is an external process to the ED that is influenced by the prehospital emergency medical system and results in the report being faxed to the ED. The second process is internal to the ED that requires clerical staff to distribute the fax report to accompany patient charts.

          A baseline audit measured the percentage of EMS patient care reports that were available to emergency physicians at the time of initial patient assessments and showed a wide variation in the availability of EMS reports. Also measured were the time intervals from patient transfer from EMS to ED stretcher until the EMS report was received by fax (external process measure) and the time from receiving the EMS fax report until distribution to patient chart (internal process measure). These baseline measures showed a wide variation in the time it takes to receive the EMS reports by fax and to distribute reports.

          Improvement strategies consisted of:

          1. Educating ED clerical staff about the importance of EMS reports

          2. Implementing a new process to minimize ED clerical staff handling of EMS reports for nonactive ED patients

          3. Elimination of the automatic retrieval of old hospital charts and their distribution for ED patients

          4. Introduction of an electronic dashboard for patients arriving by ambulance to facilitate more efficient distribution of EMS reports.

          Implementation of change strategies did not result in a significant improvement in the percentage of EMS reports available to emergency physicians at the time of initial patient assessment. However, tracking both external and internal processes that influence EMS report availability showed the internal process time from fax report receipt to distribution significantly improved. This improvement reflected the change strategies that were all directed at improving the internal process.

          EMS patient care reports are more efficiently processed and distributed in the ED due to change strategies implemented that targeted the ED's internal process of EMS report distribution. The external process responsible for transmitting EMS reports to the ED is the limiting factor that prevents consistent timely access of EMS reports by emergency physicians and will require dedicated improvement strategies.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 2

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          Clinical handover of patients arriving by ambulance to the emergency department - a literature review.

          To provide a critical review of research on clinical handover between the ambulance service and emergency department (ED) in hospitals. Data base and hand searches were conducted using the keywords ambulance, handover, handoff, emergency department, emergency room, ER, communication, and clinical handover. Data were extracted, summarised and critically assessed to provide evidence of current clinical handover processes. From 252 documents, eight studies fitted the inclusion criteria of clinical handover and the ambulance to ED patient transfer. Three themes were identified in the review: (1) important information may be missed during clinical handover; (2) structured handovers that include both written and verbal components may improve information exchange; (3) multidisciplinary education about the clinical handover process may encourage teamwork, a shared common language and a framework for minimum patient information to be transferred from the ambulance service to the hospital ED. Knowledge gaps exist concerning handover information, consequences of poor handover, transfer of responsibility, staff perception of handovers, staff training and evaluation of recommended strategies to improve clinical handover. Evidence of strategies being implemented and further research is required to examine the ongoing effects of implementing the strategies. Copyright © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: found
            • Article: not found

            Information loss in emergency medical services handover of trauma patients.

            Little is known about how effectively information is transferred from emergency medical services (EMS) personnel to clinicians in the emergency department receiving the patient. Information about prehospital events and findings can help ensure expedient and appropriate care. The trauma literature describes 16 prehospital data points that affect outcome and therefore should be included in the EMS report when applicable. To determine the degree to which information presented in the EMS trauma patient handover is degraded. At a level I trauma center, patients meeting criteria for the highest level of trauma team activation ("full trauma") were enrolled. As part of routine performance improvement, the physician leadership of the trauma program watched all available video-recorded full trauma responses, checking off whether the data points appropriate to the case were verbally "transmitted" by the EMS provider. Two EMS physicians then each independently reviewed the trauma team's chart notes for 50% of the sample (and a randomly selected 15% of the charts to assess agreement) and checked off whether the same elements were documented ("received") by the trauma team. The focus was on data elements that were "transmitted" but not "received." In 96 patient handovers, a total of 473 elements were transmitted, of which 329 were received (69.6%). On the average chart, 72.9% of the transmitted items were received (95% confidence interval 69.0%-76.8%). The most commonly transmitted data elements were mechanism of injury (94 times), anatomic location of injury (81), and age (67). Prehospital hypotension was received in only 10 of the 28 times it was transmitted; prehospital Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS] score 10 of 22 times; and pulse rate 13 of 49 times. Even in the controlled setting of a single-patient handover with direct verbal contact between EMS providers and in-hospital clinicians, only 72.9% of the key prehospital data points that were transmitted by the EMS personnel were documented by the receiving hospital staff. Elements such as prehospital hypotension, GCS score, and other prehospital vital signs were often not recorded. Methods of "transmitting" and "receiving" data in trauma as well as all other patients need further scrutiny.

              Author and article information

              BMJ Qual Improv Rep
              BMJ Qual Improv Rep
              BMJ Quality Improvement Reports
              British Publishing Group
              14 January 2016
              : 5
              : 1
              Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Canada
              Author notes
              [Correspondence to ] Dominick Shelton dominick.shelton@
              © 2016, Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to

              This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See:

              BMJ Quality Improvement Programme


              Comment on this article