HUMAN FACTORS ANALYSIS OF PRE-HOSPITAL EMERGENCY MEDICAL RESPONSE: FINDINGS FROM IRELAND, CYPRUS AND TURKEY
The importance of human factors in pre-hospital emergency medical response is increasingly recognised by emergency medical service (EMS) professionals and their organisations. An emerging body of literature also posits the need to understand human factors (HF) in emergency response (Ross et al., 2015) and crew resource management (CRM) in EMS (Fuefel et al., 2009; Woodson and Bronsky, 2018). Risks to patients and adverse events concern EMS providers. Therefore, this research asks; what are the human factors that affect pre-hospital emergency medical response?
This study employed a mixed methods design (surveys, interviews and focus groups) in Ireland, Cyprus and Turkey. Participants (N=307) are EMS professionals from Ireland (N=66), Cyprus (N=55), and Turkey (N=186). Quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted to identify human factors that affect EMS.
Findings revealed several prominent HF/CRM issues. EMS professionals are highly motivated. They report that saving lives, helping people and serving society are important to them. A strong team ethic was evident in the data. Good information is critical to EMS (e.g. location of emergency, details of casualties, etc.) and this relies on effective communication. Respondents reported stress, often due to limited resources, the high volume of non-emergency EMS mobilisations (e.g. hoax calls) and a pressured working environment. Fatigue due to the nature of EMS work and associated outcomes (e.g. situation assessment and decision making) were reported. Some significant statistical differences were reported between countries.
The findings of this study demonstrate the importance of human factors in pre-hospital emergency medical response. The data supports the concerns raised by Fuefel et al., (2009) and Woodson and Bronsk (2018) concerning teamwork, communication, stress and fatigue issues that EMS professionals from each of the participating countries reported. The next step of this research will transform data analyses into knowledge that will support interventions, including CRM training for EMS.