Pre-hospital technology research: reflecting on a collaborative project between ambulance service and academia

The University of Aberdeen MIME project (Managing Information in Medical Emergencies) aimed to develop technology to support volunteer rural community first responders when managing patients. This can be a particularly stressful activity with many challenges to overcome while waiting for ambulance clinicians to arrive. The MIME system employed lightweight medical sensors streaming data (heart and respiratory rate, and blood oxygen saturation) wirelessly to a tablet computer. Novel software was developed to present these data on-screen in a simple way and facilitate the quick digital capture of first responder actions and observations. MIME also applied the technique of Natural Language Generation, which interrogated sensor data, user-inputted actions and observations to automatically generate a handover report in English. This paper describes the MIME system, and then focuses on our collaboration journey between academia and the Scottish Ambulance Service. We illustrate the challenges encountered during our research and development, and describe the academia-ambulance service collaboration model that was developed to deliver success. We also discuss the Knowledge Exchange sub-context to our research activities, which coincided with the early development of research capacity within the ambulance service.

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