The use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in a disaster is increasingly reliant on effective coordination and collaboration within and between emergency medical teams (EMTs), which is essential for ensuring an effective organizational response to such incidents. The use of ICT has a mixed effect on the response of EMTs and the literature identifies a number of concerns around the effective use of ICTs following a disaster. The aim of this study is to explore the use of information and communication technology between EMTs (staff of the Saudi Red Crescent Society and hospital emergency department professionals) when responding to a disaster in Riyadh, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
A qualitative exploratory study was undertaken to explore the experiences of 63 respondents: eighteen call-centre staff, dispatcher teams, field supervisors and paramedics, and a total of 45 from hospital EDs, comprising fifteen senior paramedics, fourteen physician consultants and twenty ED nurse managers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the participants, who all had experience of responding to a disaster and had the authority to communicate with one another during an incident. The interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim and the transcripts were analysed using Braun and Clarke’s thematic analysis.
Three overarching themes emerged from the findings: (1) Psychological and interpersonal relationships between EMTs; (2)The perceived effectiveness of communications and information systems; (3) EMTs’ perceptions of the disaster preparation. A number of unexpected findings emerged in relation to effective communication within and between EMTs. SRCA and ED paramedics shed light on some of the challenges that they face related to their relationships and teamwork with other stakeholders and how this affected communication and information exchange. This study posited a connection between these issues and the absence of protocols for best practice. In addition, there were factors associated with technical problems related to the communication systems they used. Participants also reported issues related to the training they received. As a result of these factors, there was some difficulty ineffective coordination and information exchange between the medical teams. In order to improve communication between EMTs in a disaster, there is a need to develop a clear ICT strategy which includes the availability of effective ICT devices, agreed policies and protocols regarding coordinated communication and a comprehensive program of staff training.
My project is funded by Saudi Ministry of Health
What is your ideal Research outcome?
My PhD thesis made a contribution to knowledge about important factors that have an impact on coordinated communication and information sharing between emergency medical teams with regards to disaster management in the KSA context through using information and communication technology.
Professor Kevin Gormley, Professor Karen McCutcheon and Dr Gillian Prue
Why did you choose this PhD and why at Queen’s?
I am from KSA, and I have done my Master thesis at Monash University, Australia. I have chosen QUB because it was one of the UK universities that kept popping out as one of the prestigious.
In what ways have you developed at Queen’s?
My friendships varied from different nationalities, and sharing experiences.
Where do you hope your PhD will lead?
To support and help Emergency nurses, education.