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In MCIs (mass casualty incidents) the EMC (emergency medical chief) has to gain an overview on all patients at the scene. When using paper based patient tags the patient-related information remains at the patients themselves and the information relay is complex. We propose a mobile, RFID based solution, which makes the local patient-related information available to all relief workers at the scene. As a consequence all processes in an MCI are more transparent and the resulting medication and transport of the injured is more efficient. The introduction of RFID enhanced patient tags leads to various usability challenges which are discussed in this paper. Furthermore, three different implementations show, how these challenges can be solved in the future. These solutions have been evaluated in a disaster control exercise in order to get an impression of the practical suitability of the proposed solutions. The future introduction of RFID tags in rescue and emergency services can be based on this work.
Accurate, accessible, and realtime information on the number, location, and medical condition of patients are critical for the successful management of mass casualty incidents (MCIs), where the number of patients exceeds the capacity of the emergency management service (EMS). We present a concept of a collaborative infrastructure which generates a common operation picture in realtime. A complex, stressful and uncommon situation like an MCI creates strong psychological influences and burdens on the rescue workers. Based on our psychological findings we derived eleven special requirements for efficient and intuitive user interfaces in unstable, time-critical emergency situations. Taking the requirements into consideration we developed a concept to overcome the MCI through the combination of multiple devices. The devices are carefully chosen according to the task of the EMS personnel in the field as well as in the incident command post. Three different interfaces - PDAs for the rescue units in the field, tablet PCs for the incident commanders and a multitouch table in the incident command post - help the entire rescue team to gain efficient situational awareness.
Handling highly dynamic scenarios as they arise in mass casualty incident (MCI) situations requires lots of information about the situation and an extremely flexible IT infrastructure that can assist in managing the inci-dent. Normally, rescue workers from different organisational cultures do not communicate across their organisa-tional boundaries, but in an MCI they have to efficiently collaborate in order to successfully manage the inci-dent. In this paper we argue that qualitative cultural analysis can provide important insights into the design of techno-logical systems that are to be deployed in inter-organisational settings like an MCI. We will show how the engi-neering of complex knowledge based systems for such scenarios can profit from the results of such an analysis.