Evaluation of Ambulance Design

Ambulance Patient Compartment Evaluation

About the Project

W21C collaborated with Alberta Health Services (AHS) Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the EMS Patient Care Simulation Program, to evaluate the design of a new ambulance patient compartment. The study, led by Dr. Jeff Caird, Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, was designed to examine the interaction between ambulance design and care provider safety and the efficiency of care delivery. This was a province-wide initiative, with over 100 EMS providers from all five AHS zones volunteering to participate in standardized patient care scenarios in the back of the ambulance. Additional data was collected through an online engagement initiative, with almost 700 EMS providers answering an online survey regarding their perceptions of the new ambulance. This evaluation provided a unique perspective on EMS provider behaviour during care delivery, from the proportion of time seat belts are used, to patterns of eye movements while searching for equipment. From a Human Factors perspective, behaviours associated with provider safety or the efficiency of care delivery are a product of the design of the ambulance itself. Results from this study were shared with AHS EMS to inform procurement and design of future generations of ambulances


The findings from this evaluation have the potential to:

  • Support AHS in designing and procuring safer, more efficient and more satisfying ambulances
  • Provide ambulance manufacturers with information they would not traditionally have access to in the design of ambulances
  • Shed light on the relationship between care delivery and provider safety in the back of the ambulance

Services Provided

  • Clinical Simulation
  • Evaluation of Space and Systems Design
  • Survey and Questionnaire Support
  • Knowledge Translation

Additional Content

Published Article
Hallihan G, Caird JK, Blanchard I, et al. The evaluation of an ambulance rear compartment using patient simulation: Issues of safety and efficiency during the delivery of patient care. Applied Ergonomics 2019;81:0003-6870.