Organization and Mission
Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron (CHMCA) is a 253-bed freestanding pediatric facility. The hospital includes a level 3 neonatal intensive care units (NICU) and a level 2 trauma center. CHMCA also operates a burn unit that accepts all patients of all ages.
Akron’s Children’s Transport (ACT) operates three ground ambulances and works with other services that provide rotor-wing and fixed-wing air ambulances. ACT generally covers 22 counties in northeast Ohio, but will transport children by fixed-wing aircraft back to CHMCA from anywhere in the continental United States. The ambulances are staffed with a nurse, paramedic and respiratory therapist. ACT provides only interfacility transfer services.
More information is available at www.akronchildrens.org.
Under the current system, all transport and EMS calls come in to the communication center. When interfacility transfer is required, the referring physician, transport nurse, and physician providing medical direction at CHMCA confer about the patient. They discuss criticality, patient needs, and appropriate mode of transportation. Once the call is accepted, CHMCA handles all the coordination, even if the patient is not being transported to CHMCA.
Because CHMCA was working on what was perceived to be a problem and because all the relevant stakeholders participated in developing the solution, the committee approach was successful in garnering internal support that has made the communications effective.
Implementing the communications center required building and equipping a dedicated facility. In addition to the hardware requirements, CHMCA had to update its clinical and operational databases in order for the system to work effectively. As a result, CHMCA is able to analyze 22 aspects of every transport: for example, origin, diagnosis, call volumes, frequency and distribution of calls, staff deployment, and a range of clinical and treatment variables.
CHMCA regularly surveys the referring physicians and has received very positive feedback. Also, referring physicians receive a letter describing where and to what service the patient was admitted. As a result the volume of transports has increased from 900 in 1999 to 1,468 in 2004. Referring physicians report satisfaction with their increased role in patient triage.
Education and Replication