Modelling optimal location for pre-hospital helicopter emergency medical servicesReport as inadecuate

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BMC Emergency Medicine

, 9:6

First Online: 09 May 2009Received: 25 November 2008Accepted: 09 May 2009DOI: 10.1186-1471-227X-9-6

Cite this article as: Schuurman, N., Bell, N.J., L-Heureux, R. et al. BMC Emerg Med 2009 9: 6. doi:10.1186-1471-227X-9-6


BackgroundIncreasing the range and scope of early activation-auto launch helicopter emergency medical services HEMS may alleviate unnecessary injury mortality that disproportionately affects rural populations. To date, attempts to develop a quantitative framework for the optimal location of HEMS facilities have been absent.

MethodsOur analysis used five years of critical care data from tertiary health care facilities, spatial data on origin of transport and accurate road travel time catchments for tertiary centres. A location optimization model was developed to identify where the expansion of HEMS would cover the greatest population among those currently underserved. The protocol was developed using geographic information systems GIS to measure populations, distances and accessibility to services.

ResultsOur model determined Royal Inland Hospital RIH was the optimal site for an expanded HEMS – based on denominator population, distance to services and historical usage patterns.

ConclusionGIS based protocols for location of emergency medical resources can provide supportive evidence for allocation decisions – especially when resources are limited. In this study, we were able to demonstrate conclusively that a logical choice exists for location of additional HEMS. This protocol could be extended to location analysis for other emergency and health services.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-227X-9-6 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Nadine Schuurman - Nathaniel J Bell - Randy L-Heureux - Syed M Hameed



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