Aviation, Patient Safety to Get Renewed Focus at Air Medical Transport Conference

Alexandria, VA – In light of the increased occurrence of air-medical helicopter accidents last year and the subsequent recommendations recently issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), this year’s Air Medical Transport Conference (AMTC) will put a special focus on safety in air medicine.

AMTC, which will take place Oct. 26-28, 2009, in San Jose, Calif., is an internationally recognized educational conference and trade show that provides emergency medical transport professionals a venue to present and exchange information on the latest developments and advances in the air-medical transport industry.

Key safety-focused conference events and session offerings include:

• An Oct. 27 keynote address by Dr. Mark Rosekind, former director of the NASA Fatigue Countermeasures Program, who has gained international recognition for translating sleep and circadian (body clock) science into practical, effective strategies that enhance performance, safety and health.

• Air Medical Accidents: A Different Perspective (314) – An examination of how a core set of values, beliefs, and norms drives decision making and behavior that, in turn, influences how critical and time sensitive decisions are made in a high-risk environment.

• The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Assessing the Risk of HEMS (323) – by Ira Blumen, MD, FACEP, University of Chicago Medical Center, Aeromedical Network, Chicago, based on his nationally recognized research, which was also presented at the NTSB medical helicopter safety hearing in February.

• The Madison Criteria – Can We Safely Exclude Patients from Air Medical Transport? (106) – review of a simple set of exclusion criteria for the appropriate utilization of helicopter air medical transport.

• EMS Flight Safety: Individual Actions for Collective Change (332) – a session that outlines steps individual EMS providers can follow to effect positive change in the industry.

• So I Fell out of the Sky... Now What? (341) – a panel presentation that advises emergency and critical care providers on how to cope following a traumatic, life-altering event.

• Tell Me Something Good: Patient/Family Advocacy (348) – how to harness the emotion and conviction of air-med patients and their families to reveal how air-medical transport is truly making a difference in positive patient outcomes. Two traumatic-brain injury patients will also be on hand to tell their stories.

• Protecting Us From Ourselves: Aviation Human Factors (349) – Understanding the human causal factors that are responsible for 85 percent of all air-medical accidents. Specific accidents will be reviewed.

Other air-med and critical-care ground-transport safety-related offerings worth checking out include an NTSB Family Assistance Presentation on Oct. 27 and such sessions as Making the Easy Decision (125), Ground Ambulance Transport: Are You Being Taken for the Ride of Your Life (130), Ground Transport Safety – Applying Aviation Tools to Ground Transport (228), NVGs: Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks (Session 114), The Patient First, Safety Always (136), Fatigue: Turning Sweet Dreams Into Nightmares (147), 10 Years of NVGs in HEMS (204), Not Just Another Sad Story (205), Cooperation for Safety (209), Time Out: Utilizing a Fatigue Risk Assessment (224a), The Unforeseen Enemy: Wake Turbulence (234), Distractions in Dispatch (235), Integrating a Safety Management System into Air and Ground EMS (238), What to Do When It’s One of Your Own (315), HEMS and Safety: Regulations and Measures in Germany (326), and Helibase Management: Finally Air Medical Disaster Planning (333).

In addition, the conference’s exhibit hall will feature the Vision Zero Booth (#1827), a project headed up by flight nurse and HEMS accident survivor Jonathan Godfrey, which is aimed at building a better safety culture through raising awareness, education and personal vigilance.

Safety-focused Scientific Assembly research and education exhibit hall presentations, meantime, include Does the Pilot Operational Risk Assessment Score Used During Adverse Weather Reliably Predict Go Vs. No Go?; Assessment of Cognitive Fatigue in Air Medical Providers; The Effect of Sleep Inertia on EMS Pilot Performance; The Role of Digital Stories in Air Medical Transport Safety; and a Webinar on Ambulance Ground-Transfer Safety.

The exhibit hall also will house many safety related products and consulting services, including such safety technologies as night-vision goggles (NVGs), Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (TAWS), and weather reporting tools; risk-assessment programs; and safety-training programs.

Finally, the National Association of Communications Specialists (NAACS) is offering its Certified Flight Communicator and Advanced Flight Communicator certification courses. And the National EMS Pilots Association is offering a Helicopter Air Transport Pilot Preparation course.

AMTC is a one-stop shop for access to representatives from myriad key aviation and health-care-related organizations. Organizers include the Association of Air Medical Services, the Air & Surface Transport Nurses Association, the Air Medical Physician Association, the International Association of Flight Paramedics, the National Association of Air Medical Communication Specialists, and the National EMS Pilots Association.

Members of the media can pre-register online at www.aams.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Media_Room or obtain credentials, arrange interviews and get news onsite at Booth 1801. For a complete list of session dates and times, see www.aams.org/Content/NavigationMenu/EducationMeetings/AMTC2009/default.htm.

About AAMS - The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) is the only international trade association serving the entire air and ground medical transport community. AAMS strives to enhance the medical transport industry by promoting the highest level of industry safety; promoting quality patient care; inspiring commitment to the industry’s work, causes, and viability; and providing superior service to its members. For additional information, visit the AAMS’ web site at www.aams.org.