Medical flight handoff: a quality improvement project

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Nursing


Background: Flight medicine, transporting patients from small facilities over long distances, is essential in rural areas. Providing pertinent patient information to receiving care teams is critical and evidence suggests that over half of the pertinent patient information is omitted. Problem: Incomplete patient information provided by the flight medicine community can negatively impact patient safety and receiving team care. Methods: This QI project intended to increase efficiency of patient handoff to receiving care teams by way of a "drop sheet". The drop sheet was developed using the Mechanism Injuries Signs/Symptoms Treatment (MIST) mnemonic. One carbon copy of the drop sheet was left with the receiving nurse; the flight crew retained the other. A QR code was printed at the bottom of the drop sheet linked to a Likert-type survey assessing the comfort, completeness, timeliness, and effectiveness of the flight crew's patient handoff. Interventions: Training on the drop sheet and survey coincided with the project roll-out January 10th, 2023. Flight crews were instructed to complete a drop sheet on every patient and to leave a copy of the drop sheet with staff on the receiving team. Results: At the projects conclusion, (03/10/2023), 64 flights were completed; drop sheets were used 67% of the time. Four surveys were completed during the data collection time. Conclusions: According to the literature, consistent information provided by flight crew handoffs can improve patient safety and report completeness to the receiving care team. Drop sheets were successfully utilized though receiving care team satisfaction with the process remains inconclusive.




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