Introduction: Research on motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) is robust, though most focuses on prevention and treatment. Emergency medical experts now recognize telecommunications’ vital role in the chain of survival; however, MVA research on telecommunicator impact on the MVA is limited. This study seeks to address that gap in research, examining the relationship between Emergency Medical Dispatch codes and on-scene findings.
Objectives: The objective of the study was to characterize all cases (based on determinant codes) triaged using the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) Traffic/ Transportation Incidents Protocol, by determining the on-scene paramedic final case run disposition, transport priority, transport mode, and patient destination.
Methods: This was a retrospective, descriptive study set in Madison County, Alabama. Researchers gathered Medical Priority Dispatch data from two agencies, Madison County Fire Dispatch and Huntsville Emergency Medical Services, Inc, (HEMSI). Emergency dispatch data (determinant codes), obtained using the software version of MPDS, ProQA”, were linked to their corresponding electronic Patient Care Report (ePCR) records, and the required study data elements extracted. The study endpoints were: the distributions of on-scene paramedic final case run disposition, transport priority, transport mode, and patient destination.
Results: Data indicates a positive relationship between dispatch codes, specifically determinant levels, and the severity of injury found in the field. All dispatch Priority Levels showed a high incident of trauma on scene, between 35% and 70%. The most notable difference is within dispatch Priority Levels, showing greater disparity between trauma vs. no injuries found, treatment vs. no treatment, and transport vs. no transport.
Conclusions: Future studies may develop from this preliminary look at MVAs, information received by telecommunicators, and field-findings. While some relationships were not as strong as anticipated, the analysis serves the intended goals of validation, trust building, and response plan development.