Department of Health. 2005. http// (accessed 14 May 2012)

Designing a modular work space for urgent care. Journal of Paramedic Practice. 2010; 2:(3)116-122

Portable treatment technologies for urgent care. Emerg Med J. 2011; 28:(3)192-6

Estimating the number of usability problems. Appl Ergon. 2011; 42:(2)337-7

Sample sizes for usability studies: Additional considerations. Hum Factors. 1994; 36:(2)368-78

A pragmatic quasi-experimental multi-site community intervention trial evaluating the impact of Emergency Care Practitioners in different UK health settings on patient pathways. Emerg Med J. 2012; 29:(1)47-53

Loughborough: B.Sc. Dissertation: Loughborough University; 2008

Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications; 2007

West Sussex: John Wiley and Sons; 2011

Refining the test phase of usability evaluation: How many subjects is enough?. Hum Factors. 1992; 34:(4)457-68

CURE (Community Urgent Response Environment): portable work stations

01 June 2012
Volume 4 · Issue 6


The Community Urgent Response Environment (CURE) concept is a new technology system developed to support the work of Emergency Care Practitioners with portable pods and packs and mobile treatment units. This paper describes a project to transfer research outputs from an academic setting into practice through collaboration between two universities, two manufacturers and the United Kingdom (UK) National Health Service. An iterative prototyping process was used with 12 Emergency Care Practitioners evaluating prototypes in two user trials by carrying out four clinical scenarios in three simulated environments (confined domestic, less confined public space, and vehicle). Data were collected with video recording, field notes and post-trial debriefing interviews and analysed thematically. The final prototypes (pod/pack 1.3 and vehicle 1.6) have potential to support a new way of working in the provision of non-critical, pre-hospital care. The user trials also identified possible efficiencies through the use of CURE by providing support for a wider range of assessment, diagnosis and treatment.

About 40% of the 10.3 million visits to National Health Service (NHS) emergency departments in England in 2009/10 are recorded as ending with the patient needing advice and no specifc treatment (HESonline, 2011). It has previously been suggested that these needs could be met in the community through the delivery of urgent (or pre-hospital) care (Department of Health, 2005) by emergency care practitioners (ECPs) (Department of Health, 2004).

An ECP may encounter a wide range of presenting complaints in varying situations requiring different equipment and consumables. Reynolds (2008) found that ECPs made individual decisions about both the contents and transportation methods of their kit, including using bag systems ranging from rucksack to ice cream tubs. A previous project, ‘Smart Pods’, explored the technical requirements for ECP work by collecting data about pre-hospital care using stakeholder workshops, portable technology audits, treatment observations and design decision groups with 125 staff and 88 patients (Hignett et al, 2010; 2011). The results were design specifcations for modular treatment units as personal kit, assessment pods and packs and a new design for the clinical work space (Hignett et al, 2010; 2011). This project aimed to take these outputs and develop them into a Community Urgent Response Environment (CURE) as:

Subscribe to get full access to the Journal of Paramedic Practice

Thank you for visiting the Journal of Paramedic Practice and reading our archive of expert clinical content. If you would like to read more from the only journal dedicated to those working in emergency care, you can start your subscription today for just £48.

What's included

  • CPD Focus

  • Develop your career

  • Stay informed