Study explores whether patients from poorest neighborhoods experience longer total ambulance times

Bottom Line: Patients from the poorest neighborhoods who had cardiac arrest had longer total ambulance times than those from the wealthiest neighborhoods.

Why The Research Is Interesting: Emergency medical services (EMS) provide critical care before patients reach the hospital and differences in ambulance times may contribute to disparities in patient outcomes.

What and When: National data from 46 states on 63,600 patients who had cardiac arrest and didn't die on scene and were transported to a hospital

What (Study Measures and Outcomes): Four time measures were examined (response time, on-scene time, transport time and total EMS time) and compared with EMS response time benchmarks for responding to cardiac arrest calls.

How (Study Design): This was an observational study. Researchers weren't intervening for purposes of the study and cannot control all the natural differences that could explain the study findings.

Authors: Renee Y. Hsia, M.D., M.Sc., University of California, San Francisco, and coauthors

Study Limitations: The registry analyzed for this study wasn't of individual patients so multiple reports associated with the same patient exist; other explanations beyond the variables assessed in this study may have contributed to time disparities; and the findings may not be generalized to other types of time-sensitive EMS calls.

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