Qualitative development and content validation of the "SPART" model: a focused ethnography study of observable diagnostic and therapeutic activities in the emergency medical services care process

Bert Dercksen*, Michel M R F Struys, Fokie Cnossen, Wolter Paans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Clinical reasoning is a crucial task within the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) care process. Both contextual and cognitive factors make the task susceptible to errors. Understanding the EMS care process' structure could help identify and address issues that interfere with clinical reasoning. The EMS care process is complex and only basically described. In this research, we aimed to define the different phases of the process and develop an overarching model that can help detect and correct potential error sources, improve clinical reasoning and optimize patient care.

METHODS: We conducted a focused ethnography study utilizing non-participant video observations of real-life EMS deployments combined with thematic analysis of peer interviews. After an initial qualitative analysis of 7 video observations, we formulated a tentative conceptual model of the EMS care process. To test and refine this model, we carried out a qualitative, thematic analysis of 28 video-recorded cases. We validated the resulting model by evaluating its recognizability with a peer content analysis utilizing semi-structured interviews.

RESULTS: Based on real-life observations, we were able to define and validate a model covering the distinct phases of an EMS deployment. We have introduced the acronym "SPART" to describe ten different phases: Start, Situation, Prologue, Presentation, Anamnesis, Assessment, Reasoning, Resolution, Treatment, and Transfer.

CONCLUSIONS: The "SPART" model describes the EMS care process and helps to understand it. We expect it to facilitate identifying and addressing factors that influence both the care process and the clinical reasoning task embedded in this process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Emergency Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 13-Nov-2021

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