Boston MedFlight is a non-profit organization that transports emergency patients regardless of their ability to pay and is financially supported by a consortium of six Boston hospitals, including: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Children's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Tufts Medical Center. The company has played an integral role in the emergency medical system serving the hospitals of New England for more than 25 years. Boston MedFlight operates three ground critical care vehicles, three helicopters and one fixed- wing jet aircraft, which are strategically positioned throughout Massachusetts to transport patients to specialized care centers. All vehicles are equipped with the same sophisticated medical equipment used in a hospital intensive care unit. “Boston MedFlight transported 3,000 patients last year, the majority by helicopter, but the number of patients being transported by ground vehicle is increasing,” says Bill Cyr, operations supervisor and critical care transport nurse at Boston MedFlight. “All providers are looking for ways to reduce costs without affecting quality of care. So if it is not time-sensitive, if weather conditions prevent travel by helicopter or if a patient simply needs to be transferred from one intensive care unit to another, they go by our ground critical care vehicle.”
Boston MedFlight integrated its TomTom fleet management system with its Fleet Eyes dispatch software, which is also linked to the applications that track the company's helicopters and jet - providing a consolidated view of all MedFlight vehicles on a single digital map.
“The easy and accurate directions provided by our TomTom system has resulted in significant time savings for our ground transportation,” says Cyr. “Previously, our drivers had to either print directions online or look up the route in the map book. Now they just plug the destination into the TomTom navigation device, or simply accept the job sent to the device by our Fleet Eyes software. We're now saving 5-10 minutes at the start of every trip, which can be critical.” With an average trip time of approximately 30 minutes, this represents a savings of up to 30 percent or more.
Boston MedFlight also relies on TomTom's live traffic updates to avoid delays and plot the quickest route possible. “This is a big benefit because we don't usually use lights and siren to 'part the sea' of traffic ahead of us,” says Cyr. Studies have shown that the use of lights and sirens typically results in time savings of less than a minute but it also increases the chances an ambulance could be involved in a crash. “To improve the safety for our crews, our patients and other cars on the road with us, we only use red light and sirens if the patient has a time-sensitive need. TomTom helps makes sure we're safe and quick.”