Modular treatment units for prehospital care

26 March 2010
Volume 2 · Issue 3


In recent years UK government policy has increased the provision of urgent care in the community. As part of this initiative, the ambulance service is gradually changing from an organization designed to convey patients to hospital, to a professional group capable of assessing and delivering appropriate treatment to the patient at scene. This paper explores the technology requirements needed to support new professional roles and draws on examples from ambulance trusts (emergency care practitioners), primary care (out-of-hours general practitioners and minor injuries units) and acute trusts (emergency departments). It describes the iterative process used to develop the design specification for modular treatment units for both vehicle and built environments, using a qualitative exploratory methodological framework. Data were collected with 125 staff and 88 patients over 18 months in five phases using stakeholder workshops (2007 and 2008); portable technology audits; treatment observations in emergency departments and walk-in centres; and design decision groups. The results were thematically coded and triangulated to define the functional design requirements for the modular treatment units. The results are discussed as a technology system for personal kit, assessment packages (and storage for other clinical treatment packages) and a modular clinical workspace.

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