Mobile Data Gathering Systems for Mass Casualty Incidents

The project aims to simplify and optimize the collaboration of emergency medical services (EMS) in the context of mass casualty incidents (MCI) by providing a mobile computer-based documentation and information tool. In order to be accepted by the users as an alternative or a functional extension of the paper-based system currently in use, the computer-based system has to consider the following circumstances characterizing an MCI:

  • users have no or very limited experience in handling MCIs;
  • users work under very high physical and mental load;
  • users have to accomplish a large number of unusual tasks in parallel and under high time pressure.

To meet these challenges we propose a new approach named “Care & Prepare” as a principle for designing and deploying support systems for handling MCIs:

1. Care: The MCI system and its user interface in particular have to be designed in consideration of users context (physical, mental, temporal). The system has to be tailored to meet the constraints of the human cognitive-perceptive system in these particular situational conditions.

2. Prepare: The cornerstone of handling an MCI successfully is to be prepared. Highly trained routine behavior is formed in day-to-day practice of paramedics and emergency physicians.

We are convinced that this new system concept can only succeed, if the system is a “natural” extension of the system used for regular rescue und transport missions. Focusing on the usability of the user interface we first evaluate innovative interaction possibilities (multi-touch, gesture, speech, stylus-based handwriting) and modern input devices (smartphone, tablet) with representative users and try to establish new models for interaction and communication which are suitable for the task and the organizational requirements. We follow an entangled approach that combines User-Centered System Design, Feature Driven Development and Contextual Design to keep the project and development process focused.

Partner Organizations: 

Behra Unternehmensberatung GmbH, Hamburg

Supported by: 

Förderprogramm Hochschule-Wirtschaft-Transfer (HWT III) der Innovationsstiftung Schleswig-Holstein und Behra Unternehmensberatung GmbH

Project Period: 
Mar 2011 - May 2013