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Modeling and Simulation for Improving Ambulance Patient Compartment Design Standards



Deogratias Kibira, Yung-Tsun T. Lee, Allison Barnard Feeney, Jennifer L. Marshall, Larry Avery, Jennifer Moore, Carlotta Boone


Emergency medical service providers riding in ambulance patient compartments, while caring for patients, are at high risk of suffering injuries in case of a crash or sudden maneuver. Seat belts are one way to reduce the occurrence and severity of injuries; however, using these restraints makes it difficult to reach equipment and supplies to treat patients. Hence, improvements concerning the patient compartment design and layout could reduce hazards inside the ambulance and ultimately save lives. To this end, research is underway to develop design guidelines to result in a layout that will improve workers’ ability to reach patients, equipment, and supplies from a seated and restrained position. This paper describes the application of modeling and simulation in validating design requirements using a design concept for an enhanced patient compartment that has been developed from user design requirements and human factors engineering guidelines for an ambulance work environment. The design requirements for improved patient compartments were identified through a concerted effort involving domain expert interviews, focus group meetings, literature survey, and a stakeholder workshop. The role of simulation is to evaluate the effectiveness of the design concepts in facilitating human performance for a range of clinical care tasks while remaining seated and restrained. While the project is still ongoing, model results show that for a wide range of commonly performed tasks, a new design enables emergency medical technicians to remain seated and restrained for a majority of the tasks which is a vast improvement compared to current and more traditional designs. Other design concepts will be developed and evaluated using simulation to obtain a final set of validated design requirements
Proceedings Title
SCS 2013 Spring Simulation MultiConference (SpringSim'13)
Conference Dates
April 8-12, 2013
Conference Location
San Diego, CA


Modeling and simulation, emergency medical care tasks, safety, ambulance patient compartment, design standards


Kibira, D. , Lee, Y. , Barnard, A. , Marshall, J. , Avery, L. , Moore, J. and Boone, C. (2013), Modeling and Simulation for Improving Ambulance Patient Compartment Design Standards, SCS 2013 Spring Simulation MultiConference (SpringSim'13) , San Diego, CA, [online], (Accessed June 22, 2024)


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Created April 12, 2013, Updated February 19, 2017