Aeromedical patient transfer patterns in Central Queensland: Exploring health system effectiveness and efficiency

Kristin H. Edwards

James Cook University

In Queensland, centralized aeromedical coordination helps to address challenges around the management of complex health needs distributed across vast geographical areas. Recent decentralization of health and hospital regions in Queensland created a regional health system which crosses political and economic boundaries. Transfer of ill and injured patients requiring specialised services across vast health service boundaries for treatment may be resource efficient, but effectiveness of service delivery is not clear.
Aeromedical transfer patterns may be one way to reflect regional health system effectiveness and efficiency. Patterns which move the patient out of health service districts may reflect local hospital capability level. Increasing trends of patient movement act like the canary in the coalmine, where movement patterns may indicate gaps in local service provision and/or delivery. Patient transport which require significant time, over great distances, utilizing limited aircraft with no guarantee of availability may not deliver equitable quality care to rural communities. Analysis into the aeromedical transfer patterns are better understood with visualization of the rates and ratios of localization, market share and net flow indices. Further understanding of flight frequency and patient characteristics of established health service districts may indicate to policy makers if service delivery is hitting their intended mark.
The aim of my ASA+FNA presentation is to share the results of regional aeromedical transfer pattern research and continue a discussion to better understand the patient transfer outcomes and resource utilization necessary for quality patient care.


Kristin began her passion for aeromedical retrieval over 20 years ago -it’s the sole reason she became a critical care nurse in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. She is supported by the Emergency Medicine Foundation, Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service, and a CSIRO top-up scholarship.

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