Using a telemedicine-assisted airway model to improve the communication and teamwork of tracheal intubation during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic

J Telemed Telecare. 2022 Sep 6:1357633X221124175. doi: 10.1177/1357633X221124175. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: Isolated spaces impair communication and teamwork during tracheal intubation (TI) in suspected coronavirus disease 2019 patients. We thus aimed to evaluate the telemedicine-assisted airway model (TAM) to improve communication and teamwork during the pandemic.

Methods: This two-stage prospective study included adult patients intubated in the emergency department of the National Taiwan University Hospital between 1 August 2020 and 31 July 2021. First, we randomised patients receiving TI in the standard setting into the conventional group (Con-G) and the isolation area into the isolation group (Iso-G). We evaluated the obstacles to communication and teamwork in an isolation scenario. Second, we developed the TAM to facilitate communication and teamwork between staff in separate spaces during TI and assigned patients to the TAM group (TAM-G). Communication and teamwork were evaluated using the Team Emergency Assessment Measure (TEAM). Subjective evaluations were conducted using a questionnaire administered to medical staff.

Results: Eighty-nine patients were enrolled: 17, 34, and 38 in the Con-G, Iso-G, and TAM-G, respectively. The communication frequency (CF) of the Con-G and Iso-G was the highest and lowest, respectively. The CF of the TAM-G increased and approached that of the Con-G. The overall TEAM score was the highest in the Con-G and the lowest in the Iso-G, while the overall score in the TAM-G was comparable to that of the Con-G.

Discussion: The TAM may improve communication and teamwork for TIs without compromising efficacy during the pandemic. This study was registered at; registration numbers: NCT04479332 and NCT04591873.

Keywords: Telemedicine; communication; coronavirus disease 2019, telehealth, training, pandemic; teamwork; tracheal intubation.

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