Research

The research foci of the Emergency Medicine Unit include:
Prehospital emergency care
The Unit has strong interest in and expertise on:
Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA)

Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is a major global health issue and is one of the leading causes of death in Hong Kong. There are more than 5,000 patients suffering from OHCA in Hong Kong every year. The survival rate was only 2.3% in 2012-2013. The Unit has a series of research projects on the OHCA that aim to improve its prognosis. We are also actively involved in knowledge transfer and translation activities in CPR and use of AED.

Clinical prediction rules

Clinical prediction rules aim to guide clinicians and ambulance professionals by providing them with the information they need to make a diagnosis quickly. The Unit has a focus on creating new useful tools and clinical rules applicable in the prehospital setting. A series of projects on stroke and syncope is being planned with the A&E of the University of Hong Kong – Shenzhen Hospital.

Emergency geriatrics
Hong Kong has an aging population and has one of the longest life expectancy in the world. Elderly are presenting to emergency departments in greater numbers every year. The Unit has studied the epidemiology of geriatric patients in the A&E and is now working on the usefulness of brief intervention in A&E regarding fall risk and functional decline of elderly patients presented with a fall to the A&E.
Pedagogical methodologies
The Unit has embarked on research projects related to the study of effectiveness of experiential learning in disaster medicine education and blended pedagogical approaches in teaching CPR to secondary school students. An emerging focus of research is the role of team-based learning in teaching Emergency Medicine to senior medical students.
Clinical Toxicology
Our Unit works closely with the Toxicology Teams of Queen Mary Hospital and Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, as well as the Toxicology Reference Laboratory of the Hospital Authority. The collaboration has led to the discovery of the many cases of acute poisoning caused by novel substances of abuse in our region, such as methoxphenidine (a novel dissociative agent), ABFUBINACA and ADBFUBINACA (novel synthetic cannabinoids), and a few herb-related toxicities never been reported in the literature before. Multiple research projects are ongoing in exploring recreational drug toxicities and Chinese medicine poisoning presenting to the emergency departments in Hong Kong.
Disaster Medicine

In 2015, our Unit collaborated with the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in conducting a multi-sectoral territory-wide scoping study on disaster preparedness of Hong Kong. This study involved around 2,000 stakeholders, including government officials, healthcare professionals, first responders and citizens. The study identified many gaps and needs in local disaster preparedness. Recommendations were made subsequently by the Harvard team in the Scoping Study Report and policy beliefs based on the study findings. Several peer-reviewed articles have been published in international journals in the field of disaster medicine.

In the future, our Unit will move on to study disasters/mass-casualty events of particular relevance to Hong Kong, such as mass gathering sports events and high-speed craft maritime accidents. Better techniques in flight medicine will also be explored through simulation studies.