Experimental Implementation of NSER Mobile App for Efficient Real-Time Sharing of Prehospital Patient Information With Emergency Departments: Interrupted Time-Series Analysis

JMIR Form Res. 2022 Jul 6;6(7):e37301. doi: 10.2196/37301.

Abstract

Background: With the aging society, the number of emergency transportations has been growing. Although it is important that a patient be immediately transported to an appropriate hospital for proper management, accurate diagnosis in the prehospital setting is challenging. However, at present, patient information is mainly communicated by telephone, which has a potential risk of communication errors such as mishearing. Sharing correct and detailed prehospital information with emergency departments (EDs) should facilitate optimal patient care and resource use. Therefore, the implementation of an app that provides on-site, real-time information to emergency physicians could be useful for early preparation, intervention, and effective use of medical and human resources.

Objective: In this paper, we aimed to examine whether the implementation of a mobile app for emergency medical service (EMS) would improve patient outcomes and reduce transportation time as well as communication time by phone (ie, phone-communication time).

Methods: We performed an interrupted time-series analysis (ITSA) on the data from a tertiary care hospital in Japan from July 2021 to October 2021 (8 weeks before and 8 weeks after the implementation period). We included all patients transported by EMS. Using the mobile app, EMS can send information on patient demographics, vital signs, medications, and photos of the scene to the ED. The outcome measure was inpatient mortality and transportation time, as well as phone-communication time, which was the time for EMS to negotiate with ED staffs for transport requests.

Results: During the study period, 1966 emergency transportations were made (n=1033, 53% patients during the preimplementation period and n=933, 47% patients after the implementation period). The ITSA did not reveal a significant decrease in patient mortality and transportation time before and after the implementation. However, the ITSA revealed a significant decrease in mean phone-communication time between pre- and postimplementation periods (from 216 to 171 seconds; -45 seconds; 95% CI -71 to -18 seconds). From the pre- to postimplementation period, the mean transportation time from EMS request to ED arrival decreased by 0.29 minutes (from 36.1 minutes to 35.9 minutes; 95% CI -2.20 to 1.60 minutes), without change in time trends. We also introduced cases where the app allowed EMS to share accurate and detailed prehospital information with the emergency department, resulting in timely intervention and reducing the burden on the ED.

Conclusions: The implementation of a mobile app for EMS was associated with reduced phone-communication time by 45 seconds (22%) without increasing mortality or overall transportation time despite the implementation of new methods in the real clinical setting. In addition, real-time patient information sharing, such as the transfer of monitor images and photos of the accident site, could facilitate optimal patient care and resource use.

Keywords: app; clinical informatics; decision support; digital health; eHealth; electronic health record; emergency; emergency department; emergency medical services; implement; implementation; interrupted time series analysis; medical informatics; mobile apps; patient care; patient record.