Intermountain Healthcare's Life Flight unit operates four helicopters and three fixed-wing aircraft that are essentially flying intensive care units outfitted with emergency equipment and systems. They're staffed with medical teams that include adult, pediatric, neonatal, and respiratory specialists. The aircraft often transport critically injured patients to Intermountain's 22 hospitals across Utah and southeastern Idaho.
Among the most recent additions to the equipment on these aircraft are iPads with an application to help flight crews quickly collect patient information. Instead of scribbling information on paper with all the inefficiency and risk of human error that entails, flight personnel enter patient data into the iPad app where it can be quickly transferred into the hospital's network upon arrival. Flight crews also can share information from the application with other clinicians when necessary.
The iPads don't take up much room, a critical concern in the cramped, weight-constrained space of the aircraft. Besides reducing data entry errors, clinical decision support on the iPads is helping eliminate medical errors while in flight. The application framework was built to ensure that it can be reused in other critical care situations.