The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) hosted its air medical safety summit last month in Washington, D.C. Topics covered at the event included enhancing professionalism, data collection, coordinated communications, technology and developing a low-altitude infrastructure that supports the helicopter EMS community.
Promoting professionalism focused on the encouragement of a just safety culture within all levels of an organization and enhanced cross training among aviation, administration, medical and management groups within organizations. Data collection evaluated methods used within the industry for human-factors analysis to highlight positive and negative aspects of the industry. Coordinated communications focused on improving information flow among all industry stakeholders, including OEMs and the FAA, in pursuit of applying new safety and medical technologies to best serve patients cost effectively while processing inputs from field crews. Technologies that mitigate patient and crew risk, such as flight data monitoring and autopilots and their certification aspects, were also discussed.
Finally, the impact of federal budget sequestration on tools within the low-altitude infrastructure and the importance of, and strategies for, maintaining these tools drew the attention of attendees, particularly with regard to expanding the number of approved weather-reporting sources at the lower altitudes where helicopters fly and conditions can change rapidly.