EDMONTON, May 5 /CNW/ - The Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA)
today released findings and recommendations related to an assessment of
patient safety issues to be addressed if or when medevac services are
relocated to the Edmonton International Airport. The Minister of Health
and Wellness, following a request by the Premier, called for the review
on October 20, 2010 in accordance with Section 13 of the Health Quality Council of Alberta Regulation 130/2006 under the Regional Health Authorities Act.
"The HQCA review resulted in 18 recommendations that were developed by a
highly experienced team following a thorough process. We believe
implementing the recommendations will result in a safer health system
not only for citizens in the Edmonton area but for all Albertans and
our neighbours to the North," said HQCA Chief Executive Officer Dr.
John Cowell. "The recommendations identify patient safety issues
associated with the partial closure of the Edmonton City Centre Airport
that need to be addressed as well as issues that should be addressed
prior to the full closure of the Edmonton City Centre Airport."
The methodology included a review of previous reports about medevac
transportation into the Edmonton City Centre Airport, a systematic
literature search, surveys sent to identified stakeholders, a review of
documents from key stakeholders, interviews with key stakeholders, a
Proactive Risk Assessment (modified Healthcare Failure Mode and Effects
Analysis®), observation of the medevac work environment at the two Edmonton
airports and collection of data from other provinces/territories and
one U.S. city.
A Transition Advisory Committee be struck to facilitate information
sharing and to advise on key decisions. Representation on this
committee should include individuals from Transport Canada, NAV CANADA,
Alberta Health and Wellness, Alberta Health Services, the medical
community, fixed wing and rotary wing providers (both air and medical
crews), the Edmonton Regional Airports Authority and a member of the
public. As well, correspondence and consultation with Alberta Finance,
Alberta Transportation, British Columbia, City of Edmonton, Northwest
Territories, Saskatchewan and Yukon should occur.
Until a new dedicated medevac facility is in place, the Edmonton
International Airport must provide a dedicated area for medevac
flights, which should include parking for medevac aircraft and
ambulances, power, refueling and other services.
Traffic patterns be studied and an optimal ambulance route established
from the Edmonton International Airport to tertiary care facilities.
An evaluation be conducted on the impact of traffic lights on transport
times and changes implemented to minimize this impact. Changes could
include installing an Optacom device/system to allow ambulances to
change traffic lights to green or synchronizing traffic lights on the
main routes from the Edmonton International Airport to tertiary care
All ambulances be equipped with a Global Positioning System so alternate
routes can be determined when traffic is problematic.
The current process of how medical crews return to the airport from the
tertiary care centre be improved. This could include timely transfer of
care from the medevac crew to the tertiary care facility, providing
taxi-cab drivers with greater financial incentive to take staff to the
Edmonton International Airport or using Alberta Health Services
Arriving and departing medevac flights be given priority for landing,
taxi and take-off.
A new facility dedicated to medevac aircraft and ground facilities be
built at the Edmonton International Airport. This should include space
The new facility/air ambulance hangar be located away from the general
Additional road infrastructure, such as an on/off ramp from the new
facility that will provide faster access to north-bound Queen Elizabeth
II or a dedicated emergency lane on Queen Elizabeth II, be built.
A standardized and agreed upon coding system is implemented for
classifying and prioritizing patient transports, along with
standardized use of the term 'medevac'.
The mandatory use of RAAPID (Referral, Access, Advice, Placement,
Information and Destination) for all patient transports and the Red
Referral process for all critically-ill patient transports originating
within and outside Alberta be adopted.
Ground ambulances that transport patients between the Edmonton
International Airport and Edmonton hospitals are staffed with a second
healthcare provider to provide care during ground transportation of
unstable or critically-ill patients.
Equipment is standardized across the various ground and air ambulance
providers (including fixed wing and rotary wing).
Medical personnel who transport patients in ground ambulance, rotary or
fixed wing aircraft are cross trained in all modes of transport.
Once equipment is standardized and personnel are trained, rotary wing
transportation between the Edmonton International Airport and the
tertiary care facility be used when it is deemed that this mode of
transport will result in substantial time savings (e.g., extreme
traffic/road conditions that would result in unacceptable delays using
An evaluation of the entire process of the transfer of medevac patients,
with application of quality improvement techniques, should be conducted
the transfer of patients from air to ground ambulance that is out of the
crew facilities to allow uninterrupted rest periods for flight crews
storage of necessary equipment
Another airport be considered as a back up within the Edmonton area with
instrument landing system capabilities that can accommodate medevac
opportunities to reduce times spent before air ambulance transportation
improved and/or new ways of providing care, such as assessment of
services available in hospitals outside and within Edmonton
"The report has been delivered to the Minister of Alberta Health and
Wellness," adds Cowell. "We believe early action on Recommendation #1
to form a multi-stakeholder transition committee is vital. It would
also be our expectation that each of the stakeholders would examine the
18 recommendations and take appropriate action as relevant within their
area of responsibility."
As an independent organization legislated under the Regional Health Authorities Act, the Health Quality Council of Alberta gathers and analyzes information
and collaborates with Alberta Health Services, Alberta Health and
Wellness, health professions and other stakeholders to translate that
knowledge into practical improvements to health service quality and
patient safety in the health care system.
The report is available at www.hqca.ca.
SOURCE Health Quality Council of Alberta
For further information:
Health Quality Council of Alberta