The A to E (ABCDE) Pit Crew Model: A Novel Approach to Team Based Care of Critical Patients in the Prehospital Setting.


North Florida


Osceola Regional Medical Center

Document Type


Publication Date



prehospital, pit crew, paramedic education


Emergency Medicine | Health and Medical Administration


BACKGROUND: This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a Pit Crew intervention to improve team dynamics and time to performance of critical actions in a prehospital critical care scenario. The primary outcome was successful completion of critical actions and time to completion of these critical actions. Secondary outcomes included effectiveness of communication and overall team functioning.

METHODS: The study was conducted with a fire-based Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system with 233 paramedics and 115 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT). Eight EMS crews comprised of five members each were randomly selected and assigned to either the intervention or the control group. The intervention group (n=20) watched a thirty-minute video prior to the training describing the "Pit Crew Approach;" the control group (n=20) did not watch the video. Each crew was given the same simulation scenario of a pediatric patient that had overdosed on a beta-blocker. Completion of predetermined critical tasks were noted and timestamped. A survey was administered to the participants following the training to assess team dynamics and level of confidence.

RESULTS: Three outcomes were statistically significant between the two arms: The interventional group felt they themselves had a more defined role in the resuscitation in comparison to the non-interventional group (p= 0.021). The interventional group also felt that their team members had a clearer and more defined role than the nonintervention group (p= 0.018). The interventional group also felt more confident managing a beta blocker overdose than the nonintervention group (p.007). The only statistically significant secondary outcome finding was in scene departure decision: the interventional arm spent more time on-scene (p=0.031). Of note, the non-intervention group missed performing tasks more often than the interventional group and team leaders of these groups often performed task(s) while also directing the patient care.

CONCLUSION: The Pit Crew model was developed to optimize communication and team function. Our data identified that a formal instruction of the pit crew approach to a critical care scenario improved comfort in patient care. Future studies are needed evaluate other methods of training and the effects of continued formal pit-crew training over time.

Publisher or Conference

Health Psychology Research