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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 19(5); 2008 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 2008;19(5): 454-461.
The Effect of an Alerting Call with a Cellular Phone on Emergency Care for Critically Ill Patients
Gun Bea Kim, Shin Ho Lee, Won Nyung Park, Hong Du Gu, Sun Haeng Choi
1Department of Emergency Medicine, National Health Insurance Corporation Ilsan Hospital, GyeongGi-Do, Korea. gu.hongdu@gmail.com
2Institute for Occupational Health, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
The overcrowding of the ECC (Emergency Care Center) is a significant problem for most general hospitals. This overcrowding can be a potential cause of undesirable outcomes in critically ill patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of an alerting call, with a cellular phone, before the presentation of critically ill patients in overcrowded emergency care centers.
One hundred and two patients with cardiac arrest, altered mental status, dyspnea, and chest pain were brought to the emergency care center by 119 EMS (Emergency Medical Transport System) from July 2007 to August 2007 and March 2008 to April 2008 and were enrolled in this study. The EMS made 39 alerting calls with a cellular phone before arrival to the ECC. Each alerting call was answered by the senior resident emergency physician over a 24 hour period. We prospectively reviewed the data and compared the cases with an alerting call to those without such a call.
Thirty-nine (38%) patients arrived at the ECC with an alerting call and 63 (62%) without one. The general characteristics between the two groups were not different. The mean duration for the initiation of care for the patients with a cardiac arrest, with an alerting call, was faster than for those who arrived without an alerting call; the difference in the start of compressions was significant (p=0.006). For patients with altered mental status, all variables studied showed a significant statistical difference (p<0.001) between the two study groups. For acute dyspnea and chest pain, the first set of vital signs (p=0.004) and the ABG (p=0.001) were significantly different between the two groups. The mean time to the initiation of care was faster for the patients with an alerting call than for those without an alerting call.
The initiation of care in critically ill patients was significantly faster with a cellular phone alerting call before the patient's arrival to the ECC. Therefore, an alerting call from the 119 EMS to the ECC appears to improve the time to initiating emergency care of critically ill patients in the ECC.
Key words: Crowding, Emergency medical services, Cellular phone
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