This research project is focused on emergency medical services (EMS) for the disabled based on innovative ICT technologies, including intelligent user interfaces, virtual reality, wireless and mobile systems, and adaptive hypermedia systems.

The main goals of the project are:

  • The definition of a Disabled Person Profile, i.e., a detailed user model that can account for the peculiar aspects of the many kinds of existing disabilities, along with the formalization of a medical knowledge base, to be used as a starting point in the design and development of advanced medical services for people with disabilities.
  • The application of the medical knowledge base and the electronic Disabled Person Profile to increase the effectivenes of EMS operations, to promote a rational and coordinated emergency response for disabled persons, and to train first responders on specific scenarios involving disabled people. In particular, during the project, three systems will be developed and will be devoted respectively to support EMS center operations, medical first responders on the field, and the training of medical first responders in realistic emergency scenarios;
  • A thorough testing of the systems under realistic conditions and scenarios to evaluate their effectiveness and to identify the essential guidelines for the integration of such systems into EMS practice.

To guarantee the applicability and success of the proposed approach and solutions, the project involves relevant regional organizations such as Emergency Medical Services Center (118), Udine Hospital and Regional Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (collaborating on the design of advanced medical services and their testing), the "Gervasutta" Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of Udine (providing the specialized knowledge and expertise on disabilities), and the Council of the Disabled for the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region (to actively involve all stakeholders in the requirement analysis and testing of the system).


The main objectives achieved during the first year of the project have been:

  • The design and development of a web-based system to support EMS operations concerning disabled persons. As soon as an emergency phone call is received, the system generates personalized instructions for medical first responders, taking into account the individual Disabled Person Profile. Moreover, the system allows disabled persons, their families, and physicians to access the information contained in the Disabled Person Profile, so they can update it when needed.
  • The design and development of a training system for EMS first responders based on 3D virtual simulations and serious games. The system is used to familiarize nurses and medical first responders with emergency operations involving disabled persons.


During the second year of the project, the main objectives have been:

  • Personalized procedures for emergency medical assistance to disabled people. The system for the automatic generation of procedures will be integrated into the software prototypes for supporting the EMS center and for training medical responders, developed in the first year. The automatic generation of personalized procedures is crucial to provide emergency medical responders not only with personal information about patient's disability, but also procedural knowledge to provide assistance in a optimal way. Moreover, we will also design and develop a prototype to support medical responders in the field, using mobile technologies.
  • Testing of the Disabled Person Profile and the knowledge base. Methods and software developed in the first year will be tested and validated in the three application areas covered by the project: support to the EMS center, support to the medical responder in the field, and training of medical responders. Since these are the main phases that shape the interaction between emergency medical services and the disabled persons, tests will help assess the completeness and adequacy of proposed solutions and refine them based on the results of the evaluation. Finally, to allow disabled persons to directly manage appropriate parts of their profile, we will design and develop proper Web user interfaces, taking care of privacy and accessibility aspects. This will also facilitate the acquisition of Disabled Person Profiles, in order to organize an experiment on a larger scale.


During the third year of the project, the main objectives are:

  • Full support for EMS responders in the field. The development of the system to support EMS operations concerning disabled persons will be completed, with particular emphasis on collecting information in the field and consequently adjusting EMS procedures. This will allow to further customize the EMS procedures, by taking into account contextual factors measured in the field and which are not predictable in advance based on the information contained in the user profile.
  • Virtual training environment for EMS procedures concerning disabled patients. The training software developed during the past two years will be integrated and extended with a system for the automatic generation of personalized exercises (depending on the preparation of the nurse), with the aim of developing a complete prototype for training and retraining EMS personnel about the procedures concerning disabled persons.
  • Final evaluation and guidelines for the implementation of the software developed during the project. An extensive evaluation of the software developed during the project will be carried out, by means of field tests involving EMS personnel, clinicians and disabled persons belonging to different associations. The purpose of this evaluation will be to formulate guidelines for the engineering and the use in daily practice of the solutions and processes developed by the project.