The Danish prehospital emergency healthcare system and research possibilities

Tim Alex Lindskou*, Søren Mikkelsen, Erika Frischknecht Christensen, Poul Anders Hansen, Gitte Jørgensen, Ole Mazur Hendriksen, Hans Kirkegaard, Peter Anthony Berlac, Morten Breinholt Søvsø

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

The emergency medical healthcare system outside hospital varies greatly across the globe - even within the western world. Within the last ten years, the demand for emergency medical service systems has increased, and the Danish emergency medical service system has undergone major changes. Therefore, we aimed to provide an updated description of the current Danish prehospital medical healthcare system. Since 2007, Denmark has been divided into five regions each responsible for health services, including the prehospital services. Each region may contract their own ambulance service providers. The Danish emergency medical services in general include ambulances, rapid response vehicles, mobile emergency care units and helicopter emergency medical services. All calls to the national emergency number, 1-1-2, are answered by the police, or the Copenhagen fire brigade, and since 2011 forwarded to an Emergency Medical Coordination Centre when the call relates to medical issues. At the Emergency Medical Coordination Centre, healthcare personnel assess the situation guided by the Danish Index for Emergency Care and determine the level of urgency of the situation, while technical personnel dispatch the appropriate medical emergency vehicles. In Denmark, all healthcare services, including emergency medical services are publicly funded and free of charge. In addition to emergency calls, other medical services are available for less urgent health problems around the clock. Prehospital personnel have since 2015 utilized a nationwide electronic prehospital medical record. The use of this prehospital medical record combined with Denmark's extensive registries, linkable by the unique civil registration number, enables new and unique possibilities to do high quality prehospital research, with complete patient follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100
JournalScandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine
Volume27
Number of pages7
ISSN1757-7241
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Denmark
  • EMS
  • Emergency number
  • General practitioner
  • Out-of-hours
  • Prehospital

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