Every mission starts here.
Our Communications Center, designed and configured by Boston MedFlight, is a unique “system of systems.”
Monitors display live views from Boston hospitals' rooftop and ground helipad cameras. A large, digital map shows the real-time location of our own ground and air vehicles as well as that of all New England critical care transport helicopters. Real-time weather information streams in through a satellite feed. Yet another system monitors surface traffic so that we can give receiving hospitals updates on the estimated time of arrival of incoming patients.
Constantly absorbing and processing all of the information from these systems are ten, highly trained, professional communications specialists.
Working in 12-hour shifts, in pairs of two, they are responsible for:
- Determining the most appropriate mode of critical care transport to be deployed for the patient
- Mobilizing the critical care transport teams
- Coordinating with first responders (EMS personnel) in the case of a helicopter scene call and identifying the nearest and safest landing zone
- Helping to determine which hospital the patient will be taken to and coordinating with the sending and receiving hospital teams and security departments
- Continuously monitoring weather conditions and relaying updates to the pilots
- Flight following and managing logistics for patient transports
Our communications specialists are the orchestra conductors of our transport program. While our transport teams provide care to individual patients, our communications specialists view the world through a system lens. At any given moment, they can tell you which program is the closest or most appropriate to transport a patient, which vehicle is the most appropriate vehicle at a particular point in time, which hospitals can accept patients and which ones can’t. It’s not unusual for them to set up conference calls between sending and receiving hospitals, to help locate a bed for an emergency room patient or to help a sending physician locate a receiving physician.
Boston MedFlight’s Communications Center also helps coordinate mission deployments in our service area across all North East Air Alliance (NEAA) air medical transport providers and maintains the landing zone database, an extensive database of landing zone information used by cities and towns for scene calls and by hospitals for helicopter landings.
Our patients and their families typically remember only their Boston MedFlight medical team. However, their lives depend just as much on our communications specialists working 24 hours a day, seven days a week behind the scene.