State of Research in the Design and Development of Emergency Response Vehicles and Equipment: A Scoping Review
The current design of ambulances and paramedic equipment are not conducive of a safe and efficient work environment, and it plays a role in the poor health of paramedics. There has been discussion to improve current design standards to set the bar higher. Despite the desire to include human factors and ergonomics (HFE) into a standard, the effectiveness of HFE interventions is unclear and a systematic review of these interventions is needed prior to recommending it into the standard. The objective of this study was to review all existing English peer reviewed research to identify interventions or features of the patient compartment and associated equipment that could affect paramedics performance, health, and safety.
A scoping review methodology was applied to systematically search and screen for relevant articles, and to systematically extract and chart the data. Three databases (EmBase, Scopus and PubMed) were searched and search results were screened for articles that pertained to the performance, health, and safety of paramedics within the ambulance or when using equipment. 48 relevant articles were identified. Considering the timeline of the research (predominately since 2005) and the current state of intervention development (most research still targets understanding the problem), we conclude that the overall body of research available to improve the performance, health, and safety of paramedics is limited. Evidence has improved our understanding of the ergonomic challenges faced by paramedics, but we have less evidence to inform standards or best practices. Future research efforts should fill this gap by focusing on developing, implementing and evaluating strategies to address HFE concerns within the paramedic sector.
KeywordsHuman factors and ergonomics Emergency medical services Ambulances Paramedic equipment
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