Using Telemedicine in Mass Casualty Disasters

Megan E. Gregory, Shirley C. Sonesh, Ashley M. Hughes, Antonio Marttos, Jr, Carl I. Schulman, Eduardo Salas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives:The goal of this study is to test an implementation and examine users' perceptions about the usefulness of telemedicine in mass casualty and disaster settings and to provide recommendations for using telemedicine in these settings.Methods:Ninety-two US Army Forward Surgical Team (FST) members participated in a high-fidelity mass casualty simulation at the Army Trauma Training Center (ATTC). Telemedicine was implemented into this simulation.Results:Only 10.9% of participants chose to use telemedicine. The most common users were surgeons and nurses. Participants believed it somewhat improved patient care, attainment of expert resources, decision-making, and adaptation, but not the timeliness of patient care. Participants reported several barriers to using telemedicine in the mass casualty setting, including (1) confusion around team roles, (2) time constraints, and (3) difficultly using in the mass casualty setting (eg, due to noise and other conditions).Conclusions:There appear to be barriers to the use and usefulness of telemedicine in mass casualty and disaster contexts. Recommendations include designating a member to lead the use of telemedicine, providing telemedical resources whose benefits outweigh the perceived cost in lost time, and ensuring telemedicine systems are designed for the conditions inherent to mass casualty and disaster settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDisaster medicine and public health preparedness
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • biodefence
  • bioterrorism
  • disaster planning
  • disasters
  • organizational decision-making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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