Does Medical Staffing Influence Perceived Safety? An International Survey on Medical Crew Models in Helicopter Emergency Medical Services
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionRasmussen, K., Røislien, J., Sollid, S.J.M. (2017) Does Medical Staffing Influence Perceived Safety? An International Survey on Medical Crew Models in Helicopter Emergency Medical Services. Air Medical Journal, 10.1016/j.amj.2017.09.008
Objective: The competence, composition, and number of crewmembers have generally been considered to influence the degree of patient care and safety in helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS), but evidence to support the advantages of one crew concept over another is ambiguous; additionally, the benefit of physicians as crewmembers is still highly debated. Methods: To compare perceived safety in different medical crew models, we surveyed international HEMS medical directors regarding the types of crew compositions their system currently used and their supportive rationales and to evaluate patient and flight safety within their services. Results: Perceived patient and flight safety is higher when HEMS is staffed with a dual medical crew in the cabin. Tradition and scientific evidence are the most common reasons for the choice of medical crew. Most respondents would rather retain their current crew configuration, but some would prefer to add a physician or supplement the physician with an assistant in the cabin. Conclusion: Our survey shows a wide variety of medical staffing models in HEMS and indicates that these differences are mainly related to medical competencies and the availability of an assistant in the medical cabin. The responses suggest that differences in medical staffing influence perceived flight and patient safety.