OBJECTIVE: To investigate, in a simulator-based prospective study, whether telemedical support improves quality of emergency first response (performance) by medical non-professionals to being non-inferior to medical professionals.
SETTING: In a simulated offshore wind power plant, duos (teams) of offshore engineers and teams of paramedics conducted the primary survey of a simulated patient.
PARTICIPANTS: 38 offshore engineers and 34 paramedics were recruited by the general email invitation.
INTERVENTION: Teams (randomised by lot) were supported by transmission technology and a remote emergency physician in Berlin.
OUTCOME MEASURES: From video recordings, performance (17 item checklist) and required time (up to 15 min) were quantified by expert rating for analysis. Differences were analysed using two-sided exact Mann-Whitney U tests for independent measures, non-inferiority was analysed using Schuirmann one-sided test. The significance level of 5 % was Holm-Bonferroni adjusted in each family of pairwise comparisons.
RESULTS: Nine teams of engineers with, nine without, nine teams of paramedics with and eight without support completed the task. Two experts quantified endpoints, insights into rater dependence were gained. Supported engineers outperformed unsupported engineers (p<0.01), insufficient evidence was found for paramedics (p=0.11). Without support, paramedics outperformed engineers (p<0.01). Supported engineers' performance was non-inferior (at one item margin) to that by unsupported paramedics (p=0.03). Supported groups were slower than unsupported groups (p<0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: First response to medical emergencies in offshore wind farms with substantially delayed professional care may be improved by telemedical support. Future work should test our result during additional scenarios and explore interdisciplinary and ecosystem aspects of this support.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: DRKS00014372