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uni'wissen 02-2012 ENG

Frankfurt rescue services, paramedics, fire- fighters, and hospitals practiced for a real emer- gency at the two drills and tested the modern handheld computers. Kaufmann observed the two staged emergency operations together with his colleagues Nils Ellebrecht and Markus Jenki and a team of students. In order to capture the action at the drills, the team installed stationary cameras at strategically important points. For the second emergency drill, Kaufmann also gave six of his assistants helmets with attached video cameras in order to record the reactions and in- structions of the persons in charge of the opera- tion. The SOGRO project was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and is being followed closely all over the world due to its methodologically innovative approach of including both sociologists and ex- perts on emergency medical care. “The drills were observed by representatives from Singa- pore, Israel, and the United States,” reports Kaufmann. The study is an excellent example of the prac- tical applications sociology has to offer. “The video recordings help us to analyze behavioral patterns in rescue service personnel,” explains Kaufmann. “One of our findings is that while the handheld computers do lead to a faster appraisal of the situation, they cause delays in the flow of work in other areas. We still need to solve such resultant problems of new technologies.” The use of the PDAs is a big help from a method- ological standpoint, as it allows Kaufmann to use the data from the situation appraisal system for the analysis. The handheld computers provide useful research material, such as the time of en- try of patient data, and they can thus be used to meticulously track down errors or bottlenecks in the work flow. The goal is to improve efficiency, because in rescue operations a single second less or more can mean the difference between life and death. The Test Phase is Underway Now that the two drills are over with, the re- searchers are subjecting the PDAs to a test phase. Several ambulances in Frankfurt are al- ready equipped with the device. If a large-scale accident with many injuries occurs, the rescue teams are ready to use the Internet-based sys- tem immediately. In the case of a real emergen- cy, the system is not only designed to improve the flow of work at the scene of the accident but also to speed up the process of distributing the These handheld computers are de- signed to ensure that all information on an accident is collected as quickly as possible at a central location. “We need to bear in mind the possibility of an unexpected defect in the handheld computers and the danger of a broken ­Internet connection” 10