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Development and testing of Australian prehospital care quality indicators: study protocol
  1. Robin Pap1,2,
  2. Craig Lockwood1,
  3. Matthew Stephenson1,
  4. Paul Simpson2
  1. 1JBI, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  2. 2School of Health Sciences, Western Sydney University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Robin Pap; r.pap{at}


Introduction Historically, ambulance services were established to provide rapid transport of patients to hospital. Contemporary prehospital care involves provision of sophisticated ‘mobile healthcare’ to patients across the lifespan presenting with a range of injuries or illnesses of varying acuity. Because of its young age, the paramedicine profession has until recently experienced a lack of research capacity which has led to paucity of a discipline-specific, scientific evidence-base. Therefore, the performance and quality of ambulance services has traditionally been measured using simple, evidence-poor indicators forming a deficient reflection of the true quality of care and providing little direction for quality improvement efforts. This paper reports the study protocol for the development and testing of quality indicators (QIs) for the Australian prehospital care setting.

Methods and analysis This project has three phases. In the first phase, preliminary work in the form of a scoping review was conducted which provided an initial list of QIs. In the subsequent phase, these QIs will be developed by aggregating them and by performing related rapid reviews. The summarised evidence will be used to support an expert consensus process aimed at optimising the clarity and evaluating the validity of proposed QIs. Finally, in the third phase those QIs deemed valid will be tested for acceptability, feasibility and reliability using mixed research methods. Evidence-based indicators can facilitate meaningful measurement of the quality of care provided. This forms the first step to identify unwarranted variation and direction for improvement work. This project will develop and test quality indicators for the Australian prehospital care setting.

Ethics and dissemination This project has been approved by the University of Adelaide Human Research Ethics Committee. Findings will be disseminated by publications in peer-reviewed journals, presentations at appropriate scientific conferences, as well as posts on social media and on the project’s website.

  • accident & emergency medicine
  • quality in health care
  • health services administration & management

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors RP is the guarantor. RP incepted the project and prepared the manuscript. CL, MS and PS reviewed drafts to help refine the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final draft.

  • Funding This project is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship. This project is in part supported by a research grant from the Australasian College of Paramedicine (ACP).

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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