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Priority setting in the Brazilian emergency medical service: a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA)

  • Frazão, Talita D. C.1
  • Santos, Ana F. A. dos1
  • Camilo, Deyse G. G.1
  • da Costa Júnior, João Florêncio1
  • de Souza, Ricardo P.1
  • 1 Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, 59072-970, Brazil , Natal (Brazil)
Published Article
BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
May 06, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s12911-021-01503-z
Springer Nature


BackgroundDespite the proven value of multicriteria decision analysis in the health field, there is a lack of studies focused on prioritising victims in the Emergency Medical Service, EMS. With this, and knowing that the decision maker needs a direction on which choice may be the most appropriate, based on different and often conflicting criteria. The current work developed a new model for prioritizing victims of SAMU/192, based on the multicriteria decision methodology, taking into account the scarcity of resources.MethodsAn expert panel and a discussion group were formed, which defined the limits of the problem, and identified the evaluation criteria for choosing a victim, amongst four alternatives illustrated from hypothetical scenarios of emergency situations—clinical and traumatic diseases of absolute priority. For prioritization, an additive mathematical method was used that aggregates criteria in a flexible and interactive version, FITradeoff.ResultsThe structuring of the problem led the researchers to identify twenty-five evaluation criteria, amongst which ten were essential to guide decisions. As a result, in the simulation of prioritization of four requesting victims in view of the availability of only one ambulance, the proposed model supported the decision by suggesting the prioritization of one of the victims.ConclusionsThis work contributed to the prioritization of victims using multicriteria decision support methodology. Selecting and weighing the criteria in this study indicated that the protocols that guide regulatory physicians do not consider all the criteria for prioritizing victims in an environment of scarcity of resources. Finally, the proposed model can support crucial decision based on a rational and transparent decision-making process that can be applied in other EMS.

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