Currently, there are two EDs and five counties involved in the iFly program. About 100 people have enrolled and 24 people have actually gone on a flight. Paramedics and clinicians do need safety training to go up in the air, which takes about an hour to complete, Yeatman says.
Some of the lessons participants have taken away from the program are simple things—procedures that paramedics can do on the ground to help speed care along, such as removing unnecessary clothing.
Another example is following sepsis protocols and administering early antibiotics or ensuring that treatment protocols for the STEMI (ST segment elevation myocardial infarction) program are adhered to so heart attack patients can get to the cath lab sooner, Yeatman explains. "The helicopter crew is very checklist oriented," she says. "If you get to step two before doing step one, then you have to go back and you may not get to step three."
One of the great things about the iFly program, Yeatman says, is it showcases how trauma care is delivered. In the room every person has a place to stand and a role in care delivery. "It is like a large symphony," she says. "What the program really allows is that individual to step inside the symphony and see how it works because everything is done in an organized fashion."
This article appears in the December 2011 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.