Minnesota Field Test of CrashHelp

Principal Investigator(s):

Lee Munnich, Senior Fellow (Retired), Humphrey School of Public Affairs


  • Gina Baas, Deputy Director, Center for Transportation Studies
  • Frank Douma, Director, State & Local Policy, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Project summary:

The purpose of this project is to strengthen care coordination and treatment of rural emergency response and treatment in a way that enhances the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) network. The project goal is to implement and test the use of mobile and web technologies for their potential benefits to EMS communications and care coordination. A specific set of technologies, called CrashHelp, has been developed for testing in rural Minnesota. These technologies include (1) a mobile smartphone application for medics to collect EMS patient and incident information (e.g., data, pictures, audio, video); (2) a series of automated notifications to alert the receiving emergency department (ED) that a patient and medic unit is enroute; and (3) a web-based application that enables the receiving ED to view information collected by the medic unit.

The software was implemented and pilot tested with Cuyuna Regional Medical Center, Tri-County Hospital, and the ambulance providers that service each of them. The pilot test investigated how CrashHelp's advanced features will enable communications and improved decision making by emergency practitioners in the rural Minnesota setting, and practitioner-perceived medical outcomes that could result from using CrashHelp in a real-world clinical setting. Major findings include improved information collection by on-scene EMS personnel; improved communication between pre-hospital transport and hospital organizations (ED/trauma); and instances of improved use of resources by hospital personnel. The system's value in the ED was also recognized, particularly in pre-registering patients. Moving forward, sustained use and value from using the CrashHelp system requires deeper integration with existing trauma workflows, EMS policies and procedures, and existing technical systems such as electronic patient care reports (ePCR) and electronic health record (EHR) systems.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2013002
  • Start date: 05/2012
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Rural Transportation, Safety