When place and time matter: How to conduct safe inter-hospital transfer of patients


Inter-hospital transfer (IHT) of patients is often needed for diagnostic or therapeutic interventions. However, the transfer process carries its own risks as a poorly and hastily conducted transfer could lead to adverse events. In this article, we have reviewed literature on the key elements of IHT process including pre-transfer patient stabilization. We have also discussed various modes of transfer, physiological effects of transfer, possible adverse events and how to avoid or mitigate these. Even critically ill-patients can be transported safely by experienced and trained personnel using appropriate equipment. The patient must be maximally stabilized prior to transfer though complete optimization may be possible only at the receiving hospital. Ground or air transport may be employed depending on the urgency, feasibility and availability. Meticulous pre-transfer check and adherence to standard protocols during the transfer will help keep the entire process smooth and event free. The transport team should be trained to anticipate and manage any possible adverse events, medical or technical, during the transfer. Coordination between the referring and receiving hospitals would facilitate prompt transfer to the definitive destination avoiding delay at the emergency or casualty. Documentation of the transfer process and transfer of medical record and investigation reports are important for maintaining continuity of medical care and for medico-legal purposes.

DOI: 10.4103/1658-354X.125964
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@inproceedings{Sethi2014WhenPA, title={When place and time matter: How to conduct safe inter-hospital transfer of patients}, author={Divya Sethi and Shalini Subramanian}, booktitle={Saudi journal of anaesthesia}, year={2014} }