Physician-staffed helicopter emergency services (HEMS) can provide benefit through the delivery of specialist competence and equipment to the prehospital scene and through expedient transport of critically ill patients to specialist care. This paper describes the integration of such a system in a rural Swedish county.
This is a retrospective database study recording the outcomes of every emergency call centre dispatch request as well as the clinical and operational data from all completed missions during this service’s first year in operation.
During the study period, HEMS completed 478 missions out of which 405 (84,7%) were primary missions to prehospital settings and 73 (15,3%) were inter-hospital critical care transfers. A majority (55,3%) of primary missions occurred in the regions furthest from our hospitals, in municipalities housing only 15,6% of the county’s population. The NACA (IQR) score on primary and secondary missions was 4 (2) and 5 (1), respectively.
This study describes the successful integration of a physician-based air ambulance service in a Scandinavian rural region. Municipalities distant from our hospitals benefitted as they now have access to early specialist intervention and expedient transport to critical hospital care. Our hospitals and most populated areas benefitted from HEMS secondary mission capability as they gained a dedicated ICU transport service that could provide specialist intensive care during rapid inter-hospital transfer.