Bluetooth Tactical Headsets Improve The Speed of Accurate Patient Handoffs


Stinner D, McEvoy C, Broussard MA, Nikolaus AD, Parker CH, Santana H, Karnopp JM, Patel JA 99(5). 0 (Journal Article)

Background: The Committee on En Route Combat Casualty Care recently ranked the patient handoff as their fourth research priority. Bluetooth technology has been introduced to the battlefield and has the potential to improve the tactical patient handoff. The purpose of this study is to compare the traditional methods of communication used in tactical medical evacuation by Special Operations medical personnel (radio push-to-talk [PTT] and Tactical Medic Intercom System [TM-ICS]) to Bluetooth communication. Methods: Twenty-four simulated tactical patient handoffs were performed to compare Bluetooth and traditional methods of communication used in tactical medical evacuation. Patient scenario order and method of communication were randomized. Accuracy and time required to complete the patient handoff were determined. The study took place using a rotary-wing aircraft kept at level 2 to simulate real-world background noise. Preferred method of communication for each study participant was determined. Results: There were no differences in accuracy of the received patient handoffs between groups or patient handoff transmission times at the ramp of the aircraft. However, when comparing patient handoff times to the medical team within the aircraft, Bluetooth communication was significantly faster than both TM-ICS and radio PTT, while Bluetooth PTT and radio PTT were also significantly faster than TM-ICS. Bluetooth communication was ranked as the preferred method of handoff by all study participants. Conclusion: The study demonstrated that utilization of Bluetooth technology for patient handover results in faster handoffs compared with traditional methods without sacrificing any accuracy in a scenario with high levels of noise.

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