Regional intensive care transports: a prospective analysis of distance, time and cost for road, helicopter and fixed-wing ambulances
2014 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine, ISSN 1757-7241, Vol. 22, 36- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Background: There are three different types of ambulance systems, all of which can manage the same secondary intensive care patient transport mission: road ambulance, rotor-wing ambulance, and fixed-wing ambulance. We hypothesized that costs for specific transport distances would differ between systems. We aimed to analyze distances and observed times for ambulance intensive care secondary transport missions together with system costs to assess this. Methods: We prospectively collected data for consecutive urgent intensive care transports into the regional tertiary care hospital in the northern region of Sweden. Distances and transport times were gathered, and a cost model was generated based on these together with fixed and operating costs from the three different ambulance systems. Distance-cost and time-cost estimations were then generated for each transport system. Results: Road ambulance cost relatively less for shorter distances (within 250 kilometers/155 miles) but were relatively time ineffective. The rotor-wing systems were most expensive regardless of distance; but were most time-effective up to 400-500 km (248-310 miles). Fixed-wing systems were more cost-effective for longer distance (300 km/186 miles), and time effective for transports over 500 km (310 miles). Conclusions: In summary, based on an economic model developed from observed regional ICU patient transports, and cost estimations, different ambulance system cost-distances could be compared. Distance-cost and time results show that helicopters can be effective up to moderate ICU transport distances (400-500), though are expensive to operate. For longer ICU patient transports, fixed-wing transport systems are both cost and time effective compared to helicopter-based systems.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 22, 36- p.
Ambulance, Intensive care transport, Helicopter, Road ambulance, Fixed-wing ambulance, Health economics
Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-91277DOI: 10.1186/1757-7241-22-36ISI: 000338300200001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-91277DiVA: diva2:735470