Paramedic clinical decision making during high acuity emergency calls: design and methodology of a Delphi study


The scope of practice of paramedics in Canada has steadily evolved to include increasingly complex interventions in the prehospital setting, which likely have repercussions on clinical outcome and patient safety. Clinical decision making has been evaluated in several health professions, but there is a paucity of work in this area on paramedics.

This study will utilize the Delphi technique to establish consensus on the most important instances of paramedic clinical decision making during high acuity emergency calls, as they relate to clinical outcome and patient safety.

Methods: Participants in this multi-round survey study will be paramedic leaders and emergency medical services medical directors/physicians from across Canada. In the first round, participants will identify instances of clinical decision making they feel are important for patient outcome and safety.

On the second round, the panel will rank each instance of clinical decision making in terms of its importance. On the third and potentially fourth round, participants will have the opportunity to revise the ranking they assigned to each instance of clinical decision making.

Consensus will be considered achieved for the most important instances if 80% of the panel ranks it as important or extremely important. The most important instances of clinical decision makingwill be plotted on a process analysis map.DiscussionThe process analysis map that results from this Delphi study will enable the gaps in research, knowledge and practice to be identified.



Published on: 2009-09-21

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