airRx App Improves Physicians’ Ability To Manage In-Flight Emergencies Interview with:
Dr. Raymond E. Bertino, MD
airRx lead developer and
Clinical Professor of Radiology and Surgery at UICOMP What is the background for the airRX app and study?

Response: With increasing air travel, in-flight medical emergencies have increased and physicians on commercial airline flights are routinely asked to volunteer assistance. A study presented this week at the annual meeting of The Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) examined physician performance during practice simulations of in-flight medical emergencies with use of a smartphone app, airRx.

In the unique study, cases based on commonly occurring in-flight medical emergencies were portrayed in a mockup of the airline cabin setting. Actors portrayed patients, family members, seat neighbors and flight attendants. Resident physicians in non-emergency specialties were asked to assist as if they were volunteering in actual medical emergencies.

The study utilized airRx, the mobile app developed to help physicians and other medical personnel volunteering during in-flight medical events. The airRx app enables healthcare professionals to access 23 scenarios of the most common medical emergencies, with concise treatment algorithms and reference information to help evaluate and treat the patient. What are the main findings?

Response: Physicians using the airRx app achieved higher scores on the Critical Action Checklist and on critical action timing for contacting ground support. Physician confidence in managing in-flight medical emergencies increased in both those using the airRx app and those without the app, but increased more in the airRx group. What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: Few resources are available to familiarize physicians with what they may encounter as in-flight volunteers, which often includes medical events and conditions outside of their own medical specialties. AirRx provides a real-time checklist and quick reference handbook to improve the way that emergent medical situations in the air are addressed. How can health care providers obtain and access the app? 

Response: The airRx app is available for download at no cost at the Apple App Store or Android Google Play. After being downloaded, airRx does not require onboard Wi-Fi or internet connection. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The simulation study was conducted by Jump Simulation, part of OSF Innovation and a collaboration with the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria (UICOMP). 


SAEM 18 abstract:

Cross-Sectional Survey of Physicians on Providing Volunteer Care for In-Flight Medical Events, Aerospace Medicine and Human PerformanceVolume 88, Number 9, September 2017, pp. 876-879(4)


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Last Updated on May 19, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD