WILMINGTON – New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Critical Care Transport Service, AirLink VitaLink, is the first emergency medical services agency in the country that the College of American Pathologists (CAP) has accredited as a point of care testing lab. The accreditation means that NHRMC’s Critical Care Transport has met what CAP defines as the highest standards of excellence for performing certain blood tests while transporting a patient to definitive care.
NHRMC’s Critical Care Transport Service performs some blood testing, such as testing for hemoglobin and glucose levels, electrolyte abnormalities, pH, lactate levels or oxygen concentrations in the blood stream, in order to identify and manage critical illnesses such as sepsis or respiratory failure. With one test, the clinical staff can initiate care for these emergencies while still en route to the hospital. This also allows the transport team to mobilize the appropriate care team at NHRMC, so that specialized providers are waiting for the patient upon arrival to the hospital.
“This testing enables us to identify serious complications in order to intervene and adjust the care of the patient in the most critical situations,” said Kevin Collopy, Education Coordinator with NHRMC AirLink VitaLink Critical Care Transport Service. “This CAP accreditation demonstrates that we provide the same quality of care that patients are used to from NHRMC’s laboratory services.”
The CAP accreditation process includes a rigorous evaluation. Inspectors examine the laboratory’s records and quality control procedures for the preceding two years. CAP inspectors also examine laboratory staff qualifications, equipment, facilities, safety program and record, and overall management.
“Our Critical Care Transport Team provides highly specialized, ICU-level care to the sickest patients during transport to the hospital,” said John Popella, Director of NHRMC’s AirLink VitaLink. “This accreditation is an acknowledgement that we meet or exceed stringent guidelines for lab testing, which is a testament to the quality of care we provide.”
About the College of American Pathologists
The College of American Pathologists (CAP) is a medical society that serves more than 18,000 physician members and the global laboratory community. It is the world’s largest association composed exclusively of board-certified pathologists and is the worldwide leader in laboratory quality assurance. CAP advocates accountable, high-quality, and cost-effective patient care. More information about the CAP can be found at www.cap.org.
About NHRMC Emergency Transport Services
New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Transport Services division is a leader in setting standards for exceptional pre-hospital care and consists of two patient transport departments. NHRMC Emergency Medical Services is New Hanover County's 911 emergency paramedic service and includes a community paramedic program. NHRMC AirLink VitaLink Critical Care Transport is a comprehensive transport program offering air medical transportation, ground mobile intensive care units, as well as basic and intermediate life support medical transportation. It also includes the Regional Transfer Center, which coordinates patient transfers across the region, and VitaLine, the region's 24-hour, non-emergency nurse help line. NHRMC Emergency Transport Services operates two helicopters and 45 ground emergency vehicles with annual mileage exceeding 1.1 million miles. It employs more than 200 medical and administrative staff and responded to more than 47,000 requests for transport services in 2013.