medical air ambulance takeoff - Angel MedFlight


March 9, 2017

Interview with Astronaut Mark Kelly

BY Angel MedFlight
Angel MedFlight Board member Astronaut Mark Kelly poses advanced trained flight clinicians

Angel MedFlight caught up with our board member, Captain Mark Kelly, to discuss air ambulance, the medical flight industry and the benefits of Angel MedFlight Air Ambulance.


As one of our nation’s most experienced pilots, what is your impression of Angel MedFlight?

Mark: I believe Angel MedFlight has a done a great job promoting operating efficiency and excellence while continuing a strong, patient-centric focus on quality of care, safety and comfort.


How would you rate Angel MedFlight’s overall safety protocols and policies?

Mark: I have reviewed Angel MedFlight’s safety protocols and policies and can say without reservation that their pilots and flight crews adhere to a rigorous safety program.


What are the benefits of a pressurized versus non-pressurized cabin when transferring critically ill patients?

Mark: A pressurized cabin permits flight at higher altitudes and enables the pilot to avoid inclement weather and turbulence. This often results in a smoother ride which enhances both comfort and safety for the patient.




What are the advantages of a Learjet versus turbo propeller planes?

Mark: Jet aircraft can fly higher and faster which reduces flight time, especially over longer distances. As noted earlier, the ability to fly at higher altitude also enables the pilot to avoid inclement weather.


As an experienced aviator, what guidance would you give patients and family members looking for Air Ambulance services?

Mark: Just like any significant health care decision, it is important for consumers to do their research. Find an air ambulance provider that boasts a strong safety record and best-in-class clinical protocols. In my opinion, patient advocacy, medical expertise, and safety are the key things to look for in an air ambulance provider.


As a member of the Board of Angel MedFlight, what can you say about the Angel MedFlight leadership?

Mark: Angel MedFlight’s leadership team is extremely supportive and committed to providing the resources and tools for their organization to be the best air ambulance provider in the industry. Angel MedFlight’s leadership team has a strong healthcare background and they are devoted to patient-centric care. Above all else, they are dedicated to clinical and aviation excellence. They also understand the highly personal nature of the service being provided, and strive to have Angel MedFlight crews operate as an extension of the families they serve.




How can Angel MedFlight help and assist hospital systems and Centers of Excellence (TIRR, RIC, Craig, Shepard, Stanford etc.)?

Mark: Angel MedFlight has partnered with thousands of facilities across the country to transfer patients. Angel MedFlight’s clinical team has customized clinical care guidelines that are tailored to match those of the patient’s primary care facility. This allows for continuity of care and enables Angel MedFlight to act as an extension of the care continuum. By focusing on these best practice standards, Angel MedFlight enables patients to reach a hospital or Center of Excellence safely and efficiently so that they can focus on their road to recovery.


Where do you see the air ambulance industry in five years? What is Angel MedFlight doing to lead that charge?

Mark: The air ambulance industry is segmented and the market is reacting. The air ambulance industry, like the rest of healthcare, continues to merge around the concept of patient-centric care. Air ambulance care will continue to be about providing patients the highest level of care and achieving the best possible clinical outcome. Angel MedFlight’s partnerships with Centers of Excellence has helped lead the charge of patient -centric care in the air ambulance industry.


Before being a naval aviator and a NASA Space Shuttle Commander, you were an EMT in New Jersey. As a former EMT, what do you see as the standard in clinical certifications for air ambulance providers?

Mark: An air ambulance provider’s clinicians should be 100 percent advanced certified with their CFRN or FPC. Anything less just isn’t sufficient. All of Angel MedFlight’s nurses and paramedics carry advanced certifications. I understand there are a lot of providers that don’t carry these qualifications.


We have had patients who need an air ambulance but they are afraid to fly. As a decorated pilot and astronaut, what advice would you give to someone afraid of flying?

Mark: I’ve always been the type of person that wants to understand the process. The more information I have about a flight, the better I feel – whether it is travel by airplane or on board a space shuttle. If you are uncomfortable, ask a lot of questions and learn about what to expect on the flight. The staff and crews at Angel MedFlight will answer your questions, and strive to make the experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible for the patient and family.


Astronaut Mark Kelly Knows

Patient Care and Safety are Mission Critical

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