Over the past two days, I’ve discussed a method for optimizing the hand-off process between prehospital providers and the trauma team. Besides improving the quality and completeness of information exchange, it also fosters a good relationship between the two. All too often, the medics feel that “the trauma team is not listening to me” if the procedure is to move the patient onto the ED bed as quickly as possible.
And they are right! As soon as the patient hits the table, the trauma team starts doing what they do so well. It’s impossible for humans to multi-task, even though they think they can (look at texting and driving). We switch contexts with our brain, from looking at the patient to listening to EMS, back and forth. And it takes a few extra seconds to switch from one to the other. Team members will not be able to concentrate on the potentially important details that are being relayed.
What should you do if the team doesn’t want to wait?
First, educate them. Except for those who are in extremis or arrest, the patient can wait on the EMS stretcher for 30 seconds. Nothing harmful is going to happen in that short period.
Then, create a hard stop. The easiest way to do this is to place a laminated copy of the timeout procedure on the ED bed. And the rule is that the card doesn’t move until the timeout is done. This is very similar to what happens in the OR. The process should take only 30 seconds, then it’s over and the team can start.
Here’s a copy of a sample TTA Timeout card:
Modify it to suit your hospital and process, and try it out!
Thanks to the trauma team at Ridgeview Hospital in Waconia MN for telling me about this cool trick!