Scientific reports 2017 05 087(1) 1536 doi 10.1038/s41598-017-01437-5
Acute pain is a common reason for summoning emergency medical services (EMS). Yet in several countries the law restricts opioid-based analgesia administration to physicians. Telemedical support of paramedics is a novel approach to enable timely treatment under the guidance of a physician. In this retrospective observational study, conducted in the EMS of Aachen, Germany, the analgesic quality and occurrence of adverse events were compared between telemedically-supported paramedics (July-December, 2014) and a historical control group (conventional on-scene EMS physicians; January-March, 2014).
pain (initial numerical rating scale (NRS) ≥5) and/or performed analgesia. Telemedically-assisted analgesia was performed in 149 patients; conventional analgesia in 199 control cases. Teleconsultation vs.
Initial NRS scores were 8.0 ± 1.5 and 8.1 ± 1.7. Complete NRS documentation was carried out in 140/149 vs. 130/199 cases, p < 0.0001. NRS scores were reduced by 4.94 ± 2.01 and 4.84 ± 2.28 (p = 0.5379), leading to mean NRS scores at emergency room arrival of 3.1 ± 1.7 vs. 3.3 ± 1.9 (p = 0.5229). No severe adverse events occurred in either group. Clinically relevant pain reduction was achieved in both groups. Thus, the concept of remote physician-based telemedically-delegated analgesia by paramedics is effective compared to analgesia by on-scene EMS physicians and safe.