Strokes are a time-dependent medical emergency. The training of emergency medical service (EMS) professionals is essential to ensure the activation of stroke codes with pre-notification, as well as a rapid transfer to achieve early therapy. New assessment scales for the detection of patients with suspected large vessel occlusion ensures earlier access to endovascular therapy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact on an online training intervention focused on the Rapid Arterial oCclusion Evaluation (RACE) scoring of EMS professionals based on the prehospital stroke code in Catalonia from 2014 to 2018 in a pre-post intervention study. All Catalonian EMS professionals and the clinical records from primary stroke patients were included. The Kirkpatrick model guided the evaluation of the intervention. Data were collected on the knowledge on stroke recognition and management, pre-notification compliance, activated stroke codes and time performance of EMS professionals. Knowledge improved significatively in most items and across all categories, reaching a global achievement of 82%. Pre-notification compliance also improved significantly and remained high in the long-term. Increasingly higher notification of RACE scores were recorded from 60% at baseline to 96.3% in 2018, and increased on-site clinical care time and global time were also observed. Therefore, the online training intervention was effective for increasing EMS professionals' knowledge and pre-notification compliance upon stroke code activation, and the wide adoption of a new prehospital scale for the assessment of stroke severity (i.e., the RACE scale) was achieved.
Keywords: large vessel occlusion; prehospital emergency care; prehospital scales; stroke; stroke code; training.