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Implementation and use of computerised clinical decision support (CCDS) in emergency pre-hospital care: a qualitative study of paramedic views and experience using Strong Structuration Theory
Implementation Science, Volume: 13, Issue: 1
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BackgroundComputerised clinical decision support (CCDS) has been shown to improve processes of care in some healthcare settings, but there is little evidence related to its use or effects in pre-hospital emergency care. CCDS in this setting aligns with policies to increase IT use in ambulance care,...
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BackgroundComputerised clinical decision support (CCDS) has been shown to improve processes of care in some healthcare settings, but there is little evidence related to its use or effects in pre-hospital emergency care. CCDS in this setting aligns with policies to increase IT use in ambulance care, enhance paramedic decision-making skills, reduce avoidable emergency department attendances and improve quality of care and patient experience. This qualitative study was conducted alongside a cluster randomised trial in two ambulance services of the costs and effects of web-based CCDS system designed to support paramedic decision-making in the care of older people following a fall. Paramedics were trained to enter observations and history for relevant patients on a tablet, and the CCDS then generated a recommended course of action which could be logged. Our aim was to describe paramedics’ experience of the CCDS intervention and to identify factors affecting its implementation and use.MethodsWe invited all paramedics who had been randomly allocated to the intervention arm of the trial to participate in interviews or focus groups. The study was underpinned by Strong Structuration Theory, a theoretical model for studying innovation based on the relationship between what people do and their context. We used the Framework approach to data analysis.ResultsTwenty out of 22 paramedics agreed to participate. We developed a model of paramedic experience of CCDS with three domains: context, adoption and use, and outcomes. Aspects of context which had an impact included organisational culture and perceived support for non-conveyance decisions. Experience of adoption and use of the CCDS varied between individual paramedics, with some using it with all eligible patients, some only with patients they thought were ‘suitable’ and some never using it. A range of outcomes were reported, some of which were different from the intended role of the technology in decision support.ConclusionImplementation of new technology such as CCDS is not a one-off event, but an ongoing process, which requires support at the organisational level to be effective.Trial registrationISRCTN Registry 10538608. Registered 1 May 2007. Retrospectively registered.
Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences
The authors would like to thank the Department of Health ICTRI2 research programme for funding the SAFER 1 study and the Wales Office for Research and Development in health and social care for funding this element of the study through a PhD studentship grant.