Development of an emergency medical system model for resource-constrained settings.
Nakahara S., Hoang BH., Mayxay M., Pattanarattanamolee R., Jayatilleke AU., Ichikawa M., Sakamoto T.
OBJECTIVES:An emergency care system is an important aspect for healthcare organisations in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) with a growing burden from emergency disease conditions. Evaluations of emergency care systems in LMICs in broader contexts are lacking. Thus, this study aimed to develop a comprehensive emergency medical system model appropriate for resource-constrained settings, based on expert opinions. METHODS:We used the Delphi method, in which questionnaire surveys were administered three times to an expert panel (both emergency medical care providers and healthcare service researchers), from which opinions on the model's components were compiled. The panel members were mostly from Asian countries. In the first round, the questionnaire drew a list of model components developed through a literature review; the panel members then proposed new components to create a more comprehensive list. In the second and third rounds, the panel members rated the listed components to achieve consensus, as well as to remove components with low ratings. Finally, we rearranged the list to improve its usability. RESULTS:In total, 32 experts from 12 countries participated. The final model totalled 177 components, categorised into 8 domains (leadership, community-based actions, emergency medical services, upward referral, definitive care, rehabilitation, downward referral, and evaluation and research). No components needed removal. CONCLUSIONS:We developed a comprehensive emergency care system model, which could provide a basis to evaluate emergency care systems in resource-constrained LMICs; however, field-testing and validation of this system model remain to be done.