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Accreditation leads to higher quality and safety of aeromedical services for patients: Airmedic

June 3, 2019

Accreditation Canada (AC)’s Qmentum program helped Saint-Hubert, Quebec-based Airmedic demonstrate its ongoing commitment to a higher quality and safety of aeromedical services for patients.

“For us to go through Accreditation Canada’s rigorous program, it was a leap in the quality of our aeromedical services,” says Louis-Philippe Loiselle-Fortier, Director of Clinical Services and the Emergency Centre at Airmedic.

Airmedic was accredited by AC in 2017. This was the first air ambulance to be accredited by AC in Canada.

Loiselle-Fortier notes that though Transport Canada enforces its own standards, these don’t address aeromedical work.

“We believed that accreditation through Accreditation Canada would enable us to better demonstrate the safety of our practices and the quality of our services,” he says. “The process also helped us to demonstrate to our employees that we are serious about our approach to quality. We’re not cutting corners and we have the best interest of the patient at heart.”

He adds that accreditation also helped other organizations in Quebec, such as hospitals who use Airmedic’s services, to be confident in the quality of care their patients are receiving.

Airmedic Helicopter - Interior

Airmedic believes businesses responsible for the inter-hospital emergency transport services should be held to the same standards of quality as the hospital who bear the AC seal.

According to M. Loiselle-Fortier, this AC recognition is often synonymous with credibility, distinguishing a quality provider from other companies.”

“The accreditation process helped us to confirm and support the seriousness of our approach, which is based on rigorous standards,” Loiselle-Fortier says.

Josiane Arsenault, Airmedic’s Clinical Counselor, says the accreditation process helped to improve the organization’s employee training, as well as confirm that their practices are based on well-established standards.

“We got recommendations from Accreditation Canada experts who came to visit us,” Arsenault says. “The accreditation process had a major impact on our quality of care and the training of our staff, enabling them to better cope with emergencies in an environment that is restraining and limited in resources either in the air or in a remote area.”

In terms of better partnering with patients, Loiselle-Fortier says that this is a challenge in the aeromedical field.

He notes that due to some contracts and agreements, Airmedic is not able to follow up with patients once they are transferred.

“So, we’re looking at ways to do more customer surveys for example, to get a better picture of our client experience,” he said.

Loiselle-Fortier adds that Airmedic is also in the process of purchasing new, bigger helicopters to better accommodate patients and the family members who accompany them, as well as a growing demand for aeromedical services.

Loiselle-Fortier notes that in 95% of flights, Airmedic is able to accommodate someone who is important to the patient.

“This is something that we’ve always done and that we want to continue to do,” he says. “So, we’re making a transition to helicopters that are bigger and can better accommodate accompanying family members.”

He adds: “In the company culture, we really believe that patients should be accompanied aboard flights.”

Airmedic, who offers helicopter and fixed-wing patient transportation, is already gearing up for its next Accreditation Survey in 2021.

“We are very proud to show that we are accredited,” Loiselle-Fortier says.

He notes that Airmedic’s accreditation is highlighted in most corporate documents and all levels of the organization participated in the process – from the frontline to leadership.

“We’re happy to show that we’ve taken on this rigorous process,” Loiselle-Fortier says. “We had no obligation to take on this process and we are the only private aeromedical company in Quebec to do so.”

Airmedic strives to remain an aeromedical industry leader.

He adds that as Airmedic gears up for its next Accreditation Survey, it is keeping track of things that need to be updated and improved.

“This is really a process that we believed in and that we still believe in. We are working on keeping our procedures up to date, so that the next survey is a success too,” Loiselle-Fortier said.

In February, Ornge became the first air ambulance service to be accredited by AC in Ontario.

“The accreditation process helped bring the entire organization together,” said Jo-Anne Oake-Vecchiato, Accreditation Lead at Ornge.

AC also accredits Aeromedical Emergency Services Ltd. in Alberta.

Do you want to become accredited? Get in touch with us today and an accreditation specialist will help guide you along your own quality improvement journey.

You can also read more accreditation success stories on our website.