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The Transport initiative conducts research and advocacy on emergency medical transport in rural British Columbia. It works with rural physicians, the BC Ministry of Health, health authorities and communities to find ways to improve emergency medical transport to improve rural patients’ health outcomes. 

Image courtesy of BC Emergency Health Services


Advocated for better patient transport 

The Partnership Table for Sustainable Rural, Remote and First Nations Transport was reconvened under the leadership of co-chairs, Dr. Mike Christian, BC Emergency Health Services, and Dr. Ray Markham, RCCbc. The Partnership Table established a Data Analytics Working group, with involvement from Provincial Health Services Authority, BC Emergency Health Services and RCCbc. It also established a process for acquiring and analyzing key metrics. Results of these metrics are expected in 2023 and the relationships established through the Partnership Table continue to enable further advocacy around transport issues in British Columbia.

The Transport team also continued participating in the Provincial Patient Transfer Service Oversight Committee in collaboration with the BC Ministry of Health, BC Emergency Health Services, and health authority representatives. They helped analyze and support systemic improvements for patient transfers, particularly those related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They advocated for the continuation of a provincially distributed model of transport resources—planes, helicopters and ambulances—to improve access to timely, safe and appropriate health care for rural, remote and isolated communities. These resources will be continued and expanded in the coming year, thanks to an ongoing commitment from the government. 

Filled the research gap on rural emergency transport 

Emergency medical transportation continues to be an issue in rural and remote British Columbia. Transportation is a complex phenomenon that is impacted by various factors. Little data is available on emergency transportation in rural communities. To help fill this gap, the Transport team implemented a research study in 2022. The study is gathering experiences of physicians, nurses, health administrators, and BC Emergency Health Services staff, patients and patients’ families related to emergency medical transportation from rural, remote and Indigenous communities in British Columbia. 

By exploring themes in the provision of critical transfers, the research will inform overall system improvement from a quality perspective. More than 30 interviews, with representation from across the province, were conducted by the research team in 2022–23.  

Engaged with rural health providers on transport issues 

The Transport team continued holding transport meetings, which enable rural health providers to share examples and raise concerns about specific transport difficulties. These events also provided opportunities for the team and participants to co-develop strategies to address the transport issues raised and support the individuals who raise them. In addition, these meetings enabled the team to share and discuss progress on research projects and provincial and national initiatives related to transport. These meetings will continue into the next fiscal year.

Explore the Numbers

30 Research Interviews

30 Research Interviews

Transport team researchers interviewed more than 30 participants from across British Columbia in 2022–23 to gather their experiences with emergency medical transportation.  

Making a Difference

Despite the complexities of emergency medical transport in rural British Columbia, RCCbc’s Transport team continues in making significant contributions toward improving it for healthcare providers, patients and their families. 

“In the coming year, we anticipate that our research study will shed light on the impacts of emergency medical transport on rural, remote and Indigenous communities,” explains Dr. Trina Larsen-Soles, who leads the initiative for RCCbc. “We anticipate that the results, which we hope to release in 2023, will be used to facilitate discussions and improvements in the current system.”

Relationship-building, which has proven integral to creating positive changes in addressing transport issues this past year, will also be sustained.  

“The Patient Transport Partnership Table will continue to strengthen relationships to enable further advocacy work,” says Dr. Larsen-Soles. “Data from the Transfer Data Analytics Working group will become available to inform further action.”  

Team Members

Click on a team member to explore which other projects they have contributed to in the past year.

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