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Portable treatment technologies for urgent care
  1. S Hignett1,
  2. A Jones1,
  3. J Benger2
  1. 1Healthcare Ergonomics and Patient Safety Research Unit (HEPSU), Department of Human Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK
  2. 2Emergency Care, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sue Hignett, Healthcare Ergonomics and Patient Safety Research Unit (HEPSU), Department of Human Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leics LE11 3TU, UK; S.M.Hignett{at}


Background In recent years UK government policy has increased the provision of urgent care in the community. As part of this initiative the emergency ambulance service is gradually changing from an organisation designed to convey patients to hospital to a professional group capable of assessing urgency and delivering the appropriate treatment to the patient.

Methods This paper explores the portable technology requirements needed to support the new professional roles and draws on examples from ambulance trusts (emergency care practitioner services), primary care (out-of-hours general practitioner services and minor injuries units), and acute trusts (emergency departments) to investigate the workplace layout and clinical activities, including the use of equipment and consumables. It describes the iterative process used to develop the design specification for portable technologies using a qualitative exploratory methodological framework with data collected at stakeholder workshops, responder bag audits, clinical treatment observations and design decision groups.

Results The results are discussed as a three-level technology system for: personal kit; assessment packages (and storage for other clinical treatment packages), a clinical workspace. Future developments are predicted to improve diagnostic and decision-making services through both miniaturisation (eg, portable diagnostic imaging) and improved real-time support (communication systems).

Conclusion This study has provided empirical research for portable technology requirements in urgent care.

  • Admission avoidance
  • advanced practitioner
  • ambulances
  • community care
  • emergency ambulance systems
  • emergency care systems
  • emergency medical services
  • imaging
  • medicine chests

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  • Funding Engineering and Physical Science Research council grant ref no EP/F002920/1.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval The research was granted NHS ethics committee approval (LNR1 REC reference 07/A2501/104). Local research governance approval was obtained from each of the six participating NHS trusts.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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