Published review of: Safety and Quality in Medical Transport Systems
Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine Volume 84, Number 12, December 2013
Safety and Quality in Medical Transport Systems
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Graf, M.D.
Director Medical Services Frankfurt Lufthansa German Airlines
“Safety and Quality in Medical Transport Systems” offers a clear and easy to follow structure to develop readers’ knowledge and competence when it comes to mobile medical services. It is subdivided into five sections starting with the foundations of organizational culture (Section 1), followed by a current status report with regard to ground and air transport (Section 2). The four chapters within Section 1 may be unique to those who have a strictly medical education background as there is so much to learn about safety, quality, risk, outcome, culture, and leadership. Although targeted towards the transport community, this seems essential to all of us involved in patient care—wherever and whenever.
After setting the scene, Section 3 provides robust insight into what is needed to manage a medical transport system with a focus on quality and safety. Importantly, although organizational structures provide the foundation, human performance within this framework is key, as discussed in the final chapters of this section.
In Section 4, readers learn specific techniques to improve their organization and processes. This is exemplified by established and robust methods such as LEAN and Six Sigma™.
Section 5 highlights some of the real challenges awaiting those who strive for improvement such as organizational issues and ethics.
It is ambitious to combine air and ground transport in one book but often only combined missions using air and ground transport truly fulfill the needs of the patient. In a second edition the Editors may want to expand towards medical transports on sea as well in order to fill the tiny remaining gap. In some chapters a broader scope of, e.g., applicable tools or instruments may have been desirable to enable knowledge transfer easily. However, this is not a question of completeness but rather a consideration of a broader variety of distinctively different approaches towards challenges which may have strengthened one or more chapters. Clearly, a demonstration of all imaginable tools and instruments applied in industries is well beyond the scope of this book.
This book is unique in providing the perspective of safety and quality with regard to medical transport service provision in contrast to focusing on transport medicine only. Thus the approach is somewhat different to that of a “usual” medical textbook and readers may, therefore, find it rather analytical. Many of the authors have qualifications beyond medical training (as RN or M.D.) or do not even have backgrounds in the field of medicine. Among the key components within this monograph, readers will find science and education blended with evidence and experience of the authors gathered during daily work and further developed with CAMTS (Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems) as a Site Reviewer or Board of Directors Member.
“Safety and Quality in Medical Transport Systems” is both a textbook and an excellent reference that will guide and facilitate organizations as they strive to improve all layers of their medical enterprise—definitely not restricted only to the transportation of patients.