The Division of Prehospital Services (PRE) aims to be a driver for research, innovation, professional development, and education within our field. Our services cover between one fifth (Ambulance services) and one third (Emergency Medical Communication Center) of the population in Norway. We collaborate with academic institutions in our region to improve evidence-based treatment and professional development.
Research in the prehospital environment is a young field of research characterised by a need for extensive collaboration between different professions and medical disciplines. We “own” no specific medical conditions yet see them all at a stage where diagnosis is still tentative, and where the need for decisions, procedures, and evacuation are highly time sensitive.
The overarching goal for our research efforts is to achieve the best care for each patient using the most appropriate resources while maintaining preparedness for the next – and yet unknown – patient. To achieve this goal, we approach the processes of recognition (diagnosis and severity), treatment (pharmacological, devices, and professional care), and transportation with the dimensions of patient safety, medical ethics, and effect on patient outcomes. An improved understanding of how early diagnosis and treatment can influence further patient care and outcomes is essential to meet the needs for health care that is effective, safe, equitable, and with sustainable costs for society. The stated challenge of health care personnel availability in the future, highlights the importance of our research. We also believe that engaging our employees in research and quality improvement will make us a more attractive employer and reduce attrition in our service.
Our main fields of research are:
- Cardiac arrest research including registry based research
- Transfer and retrieval including patient safety and transport medicine
- Prehospital medical treatment, new technology and biosensors including collaboration with hospital-based specialists and world leading engineering researchers
- Safe and optimal prioritization and resource allocation including health services research and patient perspectives
The division has a research strategy and an action plan for the upcoming 2024-2025-period (see table 1 for links to the documents). The Action plan provides the leaders in the division with achievable goals and metrics for research and quality improvement. We want our research activities to grow and improve, focusing on the strengths and opportunities of our clinical activities and needs. We recently established a Department of Research and Quality Improvement – probably as the first ever among prehospital services in Norway. This department will provide support for quality improvement initiatives in the other departments and for trans-departmental improvement, as well as being the hub for externally and internally funded researchers and projects, achieving a “critical mass” for further growth.