It is hard to believe that the future will see more efficient emergency transportation than air ambulances. However, it is true and that future is not very far. The advent of smart vehicles, autonomous driving technology, drones, electric power and the like are transforming emergency transportation today. In the age of patient centricity, the technology that suits the patients’ requirements will rule the industry. While vehicles capable of landing vertically will make a huge difference in treacherous plains, swiftly moving vehicles will be in demand when time is vital. Here, we take a brief look at the different technologies that are making waves today.
Flying Cars and Air Ambulances
Flying cars have been testing human imagination since the 1980s. Their biggest advantage is their ability to take off and land vertically, as well as the fact that they are highly compact. Now, with technology enabling efficient ground support, it will come as no surprise if we see flying cars being used as air ambulances. The other major advantage from the air ambulance service providers’ point of view is the ability to store or park these vehicles without much expense. The current system where they are expected to hire spaces in large hangars can be done away with if flying cars become a reality and can in turn bring down the cost of availing the service too.
Drones and Autonomous Vehicles
A lot of innovation and research has gone into autonomous vehicles and drones. In fact, a combination of these technologies can be quite exciting. Imagine a scenario where an air ambulance company dispatches an autonomous drone capable of handling heavy loads while controlling it remotely. There would not be a need for pilot. This will also make more space for the patient in the compact vehicle, where he or she gets all the life support required.
The technology that guides air ambulances will further improve as artificial intelligence, internet of things, big data and the like progress.
It is a short question that demands an elaborate answer. As the rural hospitals close at a rapid rate, air ambulances are playing a vital role in bringing patients quick access to emergency rooms. It is believed that, currently, a quarter of the population in the United States of America do not have access to medical care within an hour. It is air ambulances that fill this gap. A report reveals that 80 rural hospitals have closed in the past decade and over 700 rural hospitals, it is believed, will be closed in the next 10 years. Air ambulances are turning out to be critical services.
Time is a Factor that Air Ambulances Manage Well
A Federal rule says that air ambulances can traverse between state borders without having to worry about state regulations. This allows for seamless travel across borders without any regulatory hassles. If the states are allowed to regulate the air ambulance industry, it might so happen that traversing these now-free state borders could become lengthy or challenging to say the least.
A statistic says that over 30% of air ambulances cross borders annually. The state laws, if different from each other, might make flying the skies tricky, prompting the air ambulances to fly to another state because the regulations are less tedious. A report by American Stroke Association says that brain juries not getting treatment in time can result in fatality or poor recovery. That alone should be an argument enough in favor of Federal regulation.
It’s All About Reimbursements
The reimbursements rates by insurance companies have remained unchanged for over two decades. This puts a lot of financial stress on air ambulance service industry. Unable to get adequate cost coverage, organizations are compelled to go to the patients. Most disheartening is the fact that the patients who pay for this service are insurance holders but without adequate coverage.
Air ambulance companies across the United States are investing thousands and sometimes millions of dollars on night vision goggles. While a part of this move is a regulatory requirement, they certainly make air ambulance evacuations much safer. They are especially helpful for helicopters that land in rather precarious landing pads. It is believed that air ambulance helicopters answer about 2,000 calls for patient transfers each year, and at least 10 percent of these are emergency calls. The night vision goggles enable the air ambulance service providers to offer wider services.
Not All Emergency Calls are Taken up by Air Ambulance Helicopters
Emergencies, of course, can occur at any time of the day or night; however, air ambulance choppers cannot respond to all of those, owing to pilot and crew safety. The issue of safety crops up mainly during the nights due to poor visibility. Night goggles can make the skies safer for the medical flight crew. One direct consequence of this would be that medical flights would be able to respond to more emergencies during the night. It also becomes easier to spot the victims who are stranded in thinly populated, treacherous areas without any immediate help.
The Connection between Air Ambulance Cost and Night Vision Goggles
A night vision goggle typically costs about 12,000 dollars. When an air ambulance is not in use, it still incurs maintenance charges, which ultimately is borne by the patients who avail the services. Now, think of a scenario where the air ambulance is employed more. This means that the maintenance charge would be divided among more people, making each flight cheaper. The people of United States are currently reeling under high air ambulance costs and a lot is being spoken about it. Considering that the night vision goggles only cost about 12,000 dollars, this could be a welcome addition.
Everything is going digital. It’s easier and more efficient to maintain your patient records digitally than have to drag around hard copies of documentation everywhere you go. So you’re probably considering switching to electronic patient care reports or ePCR’s for your air ambulance crews. Paramedics and doctors for air ambulances will find it much easier to carry around crucial information about their patients in an easily portable system. But there are a few things you need to learn about these systems before you decide to get one for your crew.
The Basics of ePCR Systems
Electronic patient care report systems are documentation software that can run on computers, tablets, and smartphones. It can help you store and retrieve information easily. But it’s important to remember that these systems aren’t mind readers. They can’t pull up information that doesn’t exist. You have to first feed it with raw data, after which you can retrieve useful information from the system.
Important of ePCR Systems for Air Ambulances
An ePC system can make it much easier to record, retrieve, and transfer useful patient info for your air ambulance. For example, when a crew responds to an incident, they can easily look up their systems to see if they already have patient record, medical history, treatment history, etc. If so, they can proceed with medical care and assistance promptly.
If there is no existing medical record, the crew can enter the patient records in their system for their reference and future use. There won’t be any need to dig up hundreds of hard copy records and documents to find the relevant info. Additionally, when handing off a patient from air ambulances, they can easily transfer the record to the receiving medical facilities for proper treatment.
You have a dream of working as a paramedic for air ambulances. Now you’ve completed your certification and have all the necessary qualifications to apply for your first job as one. This may be one of the biggest hurdles you face in your career. Although some basic interview tips apply here like any other job, there are a few additional things you need to do to impress your future employers.
Learn About the Agency
Having an in-depth knowledge about the air ambulance provider you’re interviewing for could be crucial for interview success. Do some background research before the interview and learn about some useful details like the company’s core values, how they raise funds, how many operations they averaged at recently, etc. So you’ll be prepared to answer some agency-related questions if they come up.
Otherwise, you can also use this information to impress the interviewer unexpectedly. For instance, they might ask you why you’re applying for a job with them and not with other air ambulances. You can tell them how your personal values coincide with the company’s core values, so it would be ideal for you to work where your values are respected.
Show your Preparedness to work as a Paramedic for Air Ambulances
Another crucial step for successful interviews is to help your prospective employer in envisioning you in the role. When you walk into the room, make sure you demonstrate the kind of command presence and attentiveness you would on an emergency call. Try your best to hide your nervousness and display confidence. Look your interviewers in the eye and make sure you start off and/or end with a firm handshake.
When answering questions, avoid using fillers and starting off with “umm” or “uhh”. Any sign displaying indecisiveness could hinder your efforts so try taking a few seconds to think about your response instead. These may all seem like small elements, but they can be crucial for helping you bag a job as an air ambulance paramedic.
With the responsibility of providing specialized emergency care to patients, air ambulances need to be staffed with the most competent and professional medical personnel. A typical air ambulance crew comprises of an air ambulance pilot, an in-flight doctor, an in-flight nurse, and a paramedic. The number of people assigned for each task may differ according to the air ambulance company and its needs.
Among the most crucial positions in an air ambulance crew is that of a critical care flight nurse, but not everyone is capable of becoming one. So read on to find out more about becoming a critical care flight nurse and see if you have what it takes to become one.
Basic Requirements to become a Critical Care Flight Nurse for Air Ambulances
Although different organizations and charities have varying requirements and standards for recruiting a critical care flight nurse, most air ambulances have the same basic requirements. You will need to check about the specific requirement set by the company you’re planning to apply at. However, take a look at the basic necessities first and see if you can proceed with your application:
- Licensed nurse with authorization to practice in that state you’re based in
- Experience in critical care or emergency medicine ER (minimum years of experience may differ according to organizations)
- High level of competency and proficiency with patient assessments
- High level of proficiency, expertise, and knowledge in transporting and caring for critically ill patients
- Ability to perform physical activities involved in performing aeromedical transport
- Good problem-solving skills with the ability to combine judgment and experience in coming up with a solution
Possession of current certifications for Advanced Cardiac Life Support Provider and International Basic Trauma Life Support Provider. Some companies may also require that you possess a certification for Advanced Pediatric Life Support Provider
When you’re in the medical field, there are a number of areas in which you may opt to specialize. If you’ve decided to become a respiratory therapist, there are a number of places in which you can work including in an air ambulance. You’ve met the necessary educational qualifications to pursue your licensure, but you’re not sure where to go from there. Just read on to find out more about how to obtain a license and operate as a respiratory therapist for air ambulances.
Meeting the Certification Requirements
The standard requirement for anyone to become a certified respiratory therapist is by obtaining a national license through the NBRC or National Board for Respiratory Care, Inc. It is the basis by which all other state boards will assess your qualification for a state licensure. So you will need to get through the Certified Respiratory Therapist or CRT examination.
Some respiratory therapists even pursue an advanced-level credential known as Registered Respiratory Therapist or RRT. While this may not be a prerequisite for licensure, it can boost your chances of being accepted as a certified respiratory therapist and provide your services at air ambulances. In fact, states like California and Ohio made it a mandate for respiratory therapists to obtain this license before gaining eligibility for a state license.
Meeting State Licensing Requirements and Working for Air Ambulances
Except for Alaska, every state within the U.S. requires that respiratory therapists also obtain state licensure. Although the process of gaining licensure may differ from state to state, the requirements are pretty much similar in all the states. This may include background checks, educational transcripts, and NBRC verifications in addition to application for licensure and application fees. It would do you well to study the requirements and procedures prescribed by the state licensing board in the state of your choice.
Respiratory therapists form an integral part of any medical care team. They are especially important for air ambulances, as they normally deal with patients who have sustained critical injuries. Many times, such patients experience respiratory distress and require emergency help from a trained professional. If you’re trying to become a respiratory therapist to provide professional care for such patients, this article will give you a brief guide regarding the process.
Meeting the Educational Requirements
The standard requirement to become a respiratory therapist is a college education in the related field. Every state that gives out a license in respiratory therapy require candidates to completed a program in respiratory care at an accredited and recognized institution. To meet the minimum requirement for getting a license, you’ll need at least an associate’s degree with two complete academic years of study along with a clinical experience.
Regardless of whether you’re becoming a respiratory therapist for air ambulances or other emergency services, you’ll need to be proficient in the following:
- Respiratory care
- Oral and written communication
- Social/behavioral sciences
- Biomedical/natural sciences
What’s Next to Become an RT for Air Ambulances?
Once you’ve completed the relevant degree program approved by the CoARC or Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, you can move forward to the licensing procedure. You will need to pass the Certified Respiratory Therapist examination. In some states, you will be allowed to begin working in the field with a temporary license before you take the CRT exam.
Some employers, however, may also require that you have a Registered Respiratory Therapist credential as well. Since January 2015, this credential became a standard requirement for licensure in states like California and Ohio. After getting certified, you can then apply for licensure from the state and become a licensed respiratory therapist.
The question has been long debated in the medical circles and the civilian population, especially considering the growing costs of hiring air ambulances. Here, we discuss a few arguments against the efficacy of air ambulances and point out why these arguments hold no water.
Publication on Air Ambulances by University of Texas Medical Branch
This research dates back over a decade. So, discounting the fact that the traffic as well as the overall population has increased today, we still go by the argument presented in the publication. The study was conducted taking into consideration data that followed 24 months after a hospital discontinued air ambulances and comparing it with the data 12 months preceding the discontinuation of air ambulances.
The study concluded that the discontinuation of the air ambulances did not increase death rate of patients with trauma or increase the transport time. Now, a lot of people arguing against the necessity of air ambulances might cite this finding. However, looking at the “abstract” of the publication, it is apparent that a few vital factors have not been considered.
Without the Air Ambulances, did the Same Number of Patients Reach the Hospital?
That’s the important question. The study says admissions to trauma unit decreased 12%. There was a whopping 17% decrease in admissions involving severe injuries. With the number of road accidents on the rise in the United States continuously, it seems surprising to see the number of emergency cases being reported to a hospital decreasing.
One explanation could be that those cases which demanded urgent attention did not actually receive it due to unavailability of air ambulances. That certainly is not an encouraging sign. The air ambulance networks that are available today can not only reach the patients on time and take them to the nearest appropriate facility, but also offer life-saving treatments during the flight. In fact, we have highlighted the need to get the patients adequate treatments before the golden hour earlier in one of our reports.
People who argue against the need of air ambulances must take the whole picture into consideration before making such sweeping statements.
Travelling overseas alone, or even as a couple, can be quite intimidating, especially if you encounter a medical emergency of serious nature. Even if you are covered for emergency medical evacuation and have good travel insurance, you would be better off returning to your home country for better treatment and aftercare. Air ambulances become a necessity in these cases. If you are a citizen of the United States, you can expect some help from the US Consulate in this regard.
How Can the Consulate Help You with Air Ambulances?
The consulate will assist you in locating an air ambulance that is best suited for your medical evacuation. You can even request that your friends and family be informed if doing that is tough for you given the circumstances. This will give your loved ones enough time to arrange for finances and take care of other aspects on your arrival.
You can always visit the US Passports and International Travel website to view the list of medical evacuation companies. The same website also lists the US as well as overseas travel and medical insurance companies.
Consulate does not Cover Cost of Air Ambulances
Keep in mind that the consulate merely acts as a facilitator and any expense will still have to be borne by you, your family, your insurance or any other type of coverage that you might have opted for. Keep in mind that your domestic insurance carrier will not cover you when you are abroad, if you have not purchased a cover that specifically states that a medical evacuation will be covered.
The website of the US Passports and International Travel specifically mentions that it assumes no liability or responsibility of any kind. The companies that provide air ambulances are merely listed for the convenience of international travellers. However, finding links to information about air ambulance companies and insurance providers becomes easy when you refer to this website.