Introduction: The Emergency Medical Dispatcher’s (EMD’s) selection of the most appropriate Chief Complaint Protocol is one of the most important elements in emergency dispatching. Choosing the correct Chief Complaint ensures that the correct information is gathered, the correct instructions and help provided, and the right resources sent. The selection of the MPDS Sick Person Protocol is often one of the most difficult for EMDs.
Objectives: The primary objective of this study is to compare the EMD’s selection of the Sick Person Protocol with on-scene responders’ findings when patient contact is made. The secondary objective is to compare specific details gathered on the Sick Person Protocol with on-scene responders’ findings.
Methods: This is a retrospective study using data from a single, urban, highperformance emergency medical services (EMS) system in central Virginia, USA.
Results: Overall, 44,163 ProQA cases were collected for the study period, of which 6,732 (15.2%) were handled on the Sick Person Protocol. The strong majority (62.1%) of calls fell into the ALPHA Priority Level. For most of the cases, the Primary Impression type was “pain,” a “GI/GU” (gastrointestinal or genitourinary) problem, or “weakness.” However, three Key Question answers predicted another Primary Impression: “neuro,” or neurological complaint.
Conclusions: These findings indicate that the EMDs at this agency are appropriately selecting the Sick Person Protocol and that when used correctly (by an ACE-accredited agency), the Sick Person Protocol correctly triages the few higher-acuity conditions, such as altered level of consciousness, into higher Priority Levels.