Evaluation of a paramedic student patient hand-off curriculum using simulation

Andrew Stevens
February 2016

Introduction: Even though patient handoffs are at high risk for errors and adverse events, there is not a standardised approach to how these should be taught to paramedic students. The goal of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of implementing a lecture-based training involving the IMIST-AMBO mnemonic in paramedic education. Methods: Paramedic students were randomised into a control group of standard national paramedicine curriculum and an intervention group who received an additional EMS patient handover lecture including IMIST-AMBO protocol. Outcomes were measured through simulation exercises, with learners randomised to either a low-fidelity tabletop or high-fidelity mannequin-based session. Results: There were three paramedic student teams in each arm of the study. There were no statistical differences in the reporting of any of the IMIST-AMBO components or the total number reported between the control and the intervention group. The intervention group took significantly longer to give their patient handoff: 78.2 s versus 49.2 s. Discussions: The formal education on patient handoffs was successfully implemented. There was a trend toward more data being reported in the intervention group but this came at the cost of a significantly longer report. Conclusions: We were able to successfully implement formal education on patient handoffs but the small size of the study limited the ability to evaluate its effectiveness. Patient handoffs are a high-risk area in medicine and more studies are needed to determine the most effective way to teach this to paramedic students.

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