Australia's Royal Flying Doctor Service halves the time to reach patients with SAS®

Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is using SAS to dramatically reduce the time it takes to reach patients, many of whom require urgent medical attention and are in remote locations across Australia.

According to Adrian Bennett – who is the Information and Technology manager at the RFDS Western Operations division – faster response times to calls for urgent medical attention could mean all the difference for those in life-threatening circumstances. Response has to be 24x7 and involves: assessing the remote patient’s needs; scheduling doctors, nurses, flight crews, aircraft and other resources; and then tasking the flight itself, often to a destination at great distance.

Bennett says SAS® has helped break down the process into different stages and look at all how all the data points relate to identify where time improvements could be made.

“We were able to look at all the factors that impact on efficiency at each stage and by optimising our crew shift allocations, we were able to reduce tasking time from five-and-a-half hours down to two-and-a-half hours for 90 per cent of priority 2 patients,” he said.

In addition to incident response times, Bennett says SAS is being applied generally within RFDS Western Operations. “SAS has allowed us to gain a better understanding of our data. It enables us to make more evidence-based decisions on major questions such as where our investment is needed most for different types of equipment, the time and frequency patterns of incidents, and the changing demographics of our patients.”

David Bowie, Managing Director of SAS Australia and New Zealand, said, “What RFDS has been able to achieve with their small team is inspiring, and I’m proud that SAS been a contributor in helping them improve healthcare and emergency services for Australians in remote locations.”


About the Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations

Established in 1929, Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service is a not-for-profit aeromedical organisation, supported by the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments. RFDS (Western Operations) operates from five Western Australian bases located at: Derby, Port Hedland, Meekatharra, Kalgoorlie and Jandakot.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative analytics, business intelligence and data management software and services, SAS helps customers at more than 83,000 sites make better decisions faster. Since 1976, SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®.

Editorial contacts:

  • SAS Australia and New Zealand

    Amar Vohra
    Director, Corporate Communications
    Tel: +61 2 9428 0592

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