Human Factors and Ergonomics in Mobile Computing for Emergency Medical Services
Authors: Tilo Mentler, Michael Herczeg
Abstract: Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are an essential part of pre-hospital medical care. While paper-based tools and organizational workflows are still the status quo in this field of application, they are increasingly replaced or complemented by telemedical solutions and mobile computer-based documentation and information systems. Enhanced data quantity and quality as well as a more pervasive flow of information are benefits associated with these developments. Less frequently it has been emphasized that from an emergency physician’s or paramedic’s point of view, introducing mobile computing changes the tasks that have to performed and mastered. Considering both the system and the personal view is important for developing usable approaches to pre-hospital medical care. Time delays, faulty records or additional workload caused by usability deficiencies and poor human computer-interface design would not be acceptable neither for EMS employees nor patients. Furthermore, they would compromise the overall goals of different stakeholders, e.g. health authorities, insurances, hospitals and public safety organizations. Based on the experiences and findings during a two-year project with several EMS, we consider human factors and ergonomics in mobile computing for EMS from societal and cultural needs and expectations over group and individual behavior to ergonomics of physical devices.
Keywords: Emergency Medical Services, Mobile Computing, Human Factors, Ergonomics, Usability
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