An emergency medical dispatcher is a health care professional responsible for responding to medical emergency calls and coordinating the response by sending help to the scene. Medical dispatchers typically work in emergency communication centers, where they use sophisticated communication systems to receive and process emergency calls.
Their role is to gather information about the health status of the person in distress, determine the urgency of the situation and mobilize the appropriate medical resources accordingly. They are also responsible for coordinating the various emergency medical services such as ambulances, helicopters and rescue teams.
Medical dispatchers must be highly trained professionals with a thorough knowledge of medical protocols and available resources to provide rapid and effective assistance to people in medical distress. They must be able to handle stressful and complex situations, communicate effectively with callers, and make quick and accurate decisions under tight time constraints.
Their work can help save lives by ensuring a rapid and coordinated response to medical emergencies. Medical dispatchers, therefore, play a critical role in the emergency health care system and their work is essential to ensuring that people in medical distress receive the help they need as soon as possible.
Are you familiar with Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMD)?
An emergency medical dispatcher (EMD) is a person who responds to calls from people who need emergency assistance. The emergency medical dispatcher listens to the caller's report and records important information, such as the address and nature of the emergency. He or she can also give first aid instructions, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or how to stop bleeding, until help arrives on the scene. The emergency medical dispatcher is an important member of the emergency team, as he or she can help save lives by giving quick and accurate first aid instructions.
Rescuers are not alone!
CPR is a first aid technique that can be used to try to save a victim in cardiac arrest. When a rescuer calls for help with cardiac arrest, the emergency medical dispatcher (EMD) can instruct them to perform CPR until help arrives. Individual studies have shown that telephone CPR assistance significantly increases the rate of bystander CPR performance and survival of victims of cardiac arrest.
The 911 dispatcher, a major ally!
In a scientific study published in 2019, the authors evaluated the impact of CPR hotline programs on key clinical outcomes available after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. They conducted their research based on scientific studies from five organizations. Eligible studies compared systems with and without telephone CPR assistance programs. The results of the included studies were classified into 3 categories for further analysis:
- The comparison of outcomes in systems with CPR hotline programs,
- Case-by-case comparison of telephone CPR assistance with CPR by rescuers alone,
- Case-by-case comparison of telephone CPR assistance to no CPR before rescue.
The results speak for themselves!
This scientific study comparing telephone CPR assistance versus CPR by rescuers alone supports the recommendation that emergency medical dispatchers provide CPR instructions to callers with suspected cardiorespiratory arrest.
Emergency medical dispatchers play a critical role in managing emergency situations, including cardiopulmonary arrest. They can record important information and provide first aid instructions, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), until help arrives at the scene. This study found that telephone CPR assistance could significantly increase the rate of bystander CPR and survival of victims of cardiac arrest. This study highlights the importance of emergency medical dispatchers in emergency response and their ability to save lives.
Summary of the study
- Telephone assisted cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a first aid technique used when a person calls for help in the event of cardiac arrest.
- Individual studies have shown that telephone CPR assistance significantly increases the rate of bystander CPR and survival of victims of cardiac arrest.
- The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of telephone CPR assistance programs on clinical outcomes after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
- The results of the study show that the provision of telephone CPR assistance versus no telephone CPR assistance was consistently associated with better outcomes in all analyses.
- The results of this scientific study support the recommendation that emergency medical dispatchers provide CPR instructions to callers with suspected cardiopulmonary arrest.
- Nikolaos Nikolaou, Katie N. Dainty, Keith Couper, Janice Tijssen et Christian Vaillancourt: March 7 2019 “A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of dispatcher-assisted CPR on outcomes from sudden cardiac arrest in adults and children” https://www.resuscitationjournal.com/article/S0300-9572(19)30052-8/fulltext [Last accessed January 6, 2023]
To find out when it is appropriate to call 911, see our "Guidelines" page