Health and Technology

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 327–340 | Cite as

Design and field test of an mHealth system for emergency medical services

  • Benjamin SchooleyEmail author
  • Yousef Abed
  • Abdullah Murad
  • Thomas A. Horan
  • Joe Roberts
Original Paper


This research uses multiple methods guided by Information Systems Design Theory (ISDT) to design and evaluate a mobile multimedia information system for communicating patient and emergency incident information within the context of Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The system design and requirements were examined and a mobile and web-based information technology system was developed to support EMS information exchange and decision-making. A field study was then conducted across EMS and hospital organizations in the Boise, Idaho region for three months to examine use of the system and practitioner perspectives on its utility. Findings from qualitative analysis include practitioners’ willingness to use mobile Smartphones to communicate during an emergency, transmit digital images and audio recordings, and the potential benefits and challenges of an mHealth application for augmenting communications processes and medical decision-making. From a more theoretical perspective, the study documents the interest in using richer forms of media in EMS communications than is typically utilized for the handover of patient information from prehospital to hospital providers. This paper describes the justification for an EMS mHealth artifact, presents the system design, the pilot test methodology and results, and overall implications and future research directions.


mHealth Emergency medical services Mobile computing Multimedia 



This study was funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Institute, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota. The authors would like to thank Crispaul Obana for his excellent contributions to the artifact design. Appreciation is also expressed to study participants including the hard working paramedics and nurses in Canyon and Ada County, Idaho. In particular, this study could not have taken place without the help of Dia Gainor, Scott Tucker and Troy Hagen.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© IUPESM and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin Schooley
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yousef Abed
    • 2
  • Abdullah Murad
    • 2
  • Thomas A. Horan
    • 2
  • Joe Roberts
    • 2
  1. 1.Integrated Information TechnologyUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Center for Information Systems and TechnologyClaremont Graduate UniversityClaremontUSA

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