Organization and Mission
Boston MedFlight (BMF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Bedford, Massachusetts, whose mission is to extend the tertiary care services of the major Boston hospitals to the citizens of Massachusetts and New England. The service is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. BMF was formed by a consortium of Boston area hospitals to provide emergency medical critical care transport services. The consortium includes Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Tufts New England Medical Center. BMF provides transport to the hospital deemed best able to meet the patient’s needs, regardless of whether that hospital is a member of the consortium. BMF currently operates three helicopters, two ground ambulances and one fixed-wing air ambulance. Additional information is available at www.bostonmedflight.org.
As a regional provider, BMF achieves a volume of utilization of approximately 2,700 transports annually, a volume that would not be possible for an independent operator. The high volume means that BMF teams encounter even unusual cases frequently enough to keep skills at high levels of proficiency and its affiliation with the consortium of hospitals facilitates development and coordination of treatment and transportation protocols that strengthen the system and improve the quality of care. Having the choice of ground or air vehicles means that BMF can choose the most appropriate and effective mode of transport for that patient under the specific circumstances.
BMF has historically incorporated the quality assurance process into its operation. Every transport team member is responsible for a quality assurance project. Structured training time is built into the operating budget and schedule; team members are required to maintain their skills and certifications through extensive hands-on clinical training opportunities at all the member hospitals.
BMF has used its quality assurance process as a change agent to continually improve the quality of service it provides and as a tool to identify additional services that were needed. One example of that is the evolving recognition of critical care transport as a specialization separate from prehospital emergency medical services. Quality assurance has also helped BMF operate efficiently.
BMF has found that it needs to drive the development and acceptance of critical care transport protocols. Consortium hospitals have willing and effective partners in developing those protocols. Standardization of procedures has helped make the transport process achieve optimal clinical results while smoothing other operational issues.
Evaluation and Results
Education and Replication
BMF personnel have published a variety of articles relevant to interhospital transfer. A partial bibliography can be found at www.bostonmedflight.org/research.html.