New study reveals patient data for actual need of emergency medical helicopter transfer

medical helicopter transfer

Sky is the limit for medical experiments since the recent cutting edge discovery in the field of medicine. The growing use of medical helicopters in the past half-century has saved countless lives. However, latest study at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University investigates if the number of transfers through emergency helicopter has exceeded over the years. The study focused on the expensive transfer service which may not always have an insurance cover.

“For true emergencies, it is quicker and better to transport someone by air, but that’s not the majority of the transfers being made,” said researcher Andrew Reimer focusing on the main objective of the study. Reimer is an assistant professor and also an experienced flight nurse. He has hundreds of emergency flights to his credit before and during his nursing career at Case Western Reserve.

Although through medical helicopters patients can be moved during the most critical hours of treatment, the research team wants to bring about a change in transfers through medical helicopters. In his statement, Reimer added that a lot of people did not necessarily benefit from the move. He reports that the staff did not have enough numbers to back up and the transfer was too automatic.

The research draws attention to insufficient ‘pre-transfer data about the patients.’ The team thus developed an electronic medical record (EMR) dataset. Through this, the experts had access to advanced existing research of thousands of patients before, during and after the transfer by medical helicopter. Reimer along with a team of nursing and computer science students thus developed a computer algorithm to identify which patients were in need of the helicopter transfer and those who could use the common emergency ambulance instead.

The data contains information about age, existing illness, apart from putting patients in specific categories like “very specific risk of mortality”. The team is working on adding this information to the patient’s EMR which would ultimately decide the actual need for air transfer.

“There are obvious cases on both ends, but this guide helps us decide on a whole group of patients who are sort of in the middle,” comments Reimer. “This data can help us know ahead of time who will benefit–and who won’t.”

The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health grant and receives resources of about $500,000.