Patient Movement 101: What Healthcare Systems Need to Know to Work Better

The ins and outs of interfacility patient transports — the processes, workflows, resources, reimbursement, and decision-making — aren’t something most people think about.

Yet how patients move within a healthcare system impacts not only the patient being transferred, but also the transport vendor and the on-call physician, as well as the hospital’s program director, board members, and local and state stakeholders. How patients move influences much more than most people think, and its impact can be seen on the national level as we look at our healthcare statistics and trends. Let’s learn a little more.

A Patient Arrives at the Emergency Room (ED)

When a patient arrives at the ED, a triage nurse assesses the severity of their condition based on vital signs, symptoms, and medical history. After triage, a physician must determine the individual’s subsequent needs: does the facility have the expertise, resources, and equipment to treat this patient? If not, the ED team might initiate an interfacility transfer.

Approximately 70% of a hospital’s inpatients are processed in through the ED, and the majority arrive by Emergency Medical Services (EMS). For the most urgent conditions — such as myocardial infarction, stroke, sepsis, and major trauma — EMS protocols specify emergent transport to the most appropriate facility for immediate treatment. But once these patients are stabilized, they might still require a transfer.

Patients often qualify for an emergent transfer to another facility because their condition requires a level of specialization or testing that the initial facility cannot offer. For example, a trauma patient who requires surgery might be transferred from a critical access hospital (one with 25 or fewer acute care beds) to a Level I trauma center. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, smaller EDs averaged the highest transfer rates, at approximately 5%.

Patients can also be transferred due to a lack of capacity (which is happening much more frequently during our current staffing crisis), patient preference, or insurance coverage issues. In non-emergent situations, a patient might require transfer for elective surgery, to be closer to home, or to move to a more suitable environment in order to free up capacity for high-acuity patients.

The Patient Needs to Be Transferred

Time-critical cases require fast consideration of the patient’s clinical situation, current needs, potential outcomes, and the available resources. Facilities must have standardized processes in place to quickly evaluate their capacity for accommodating a patient who requires a higher level of care. Hospitals can use acuity scores to prioritize which patients should be first on the list for a transfer, ensuring that low-acuity cases do not inadvertently bump higher-acuity cases down the list.

Hospitals must also have strong connections with other hospitals within the region, as they will need to locate and confirm an appropriate destination. When bed capacity drops across a region — such as during COVID-19 — finding a facility that can receive the patient can be a challenge. Clinicians sometimes spend hours on the phone, calling half a dozen facilities or more in search of a bed. For facilities using Motient’s Mission Control solution, the process is much easier. Clinicians simply enter a pending transfer into the application and continue caring for patients, as the Motient team will contact them once an appropriate, available destination is confirmed.

What kind of prep work must be done?

Once an appropriate placement is found, the ED team must coordinate the logistics of safe, reliable patient transport. The team may need to contact multiple transport vendors, as some may be unavailable, or may lack the capabilities for safe transport for certain patients. An incomplete understanding of the patient’s condition can lead to inadequate resources during transport, and thus to adverse events.

Throughout the transfer process, physicians at both the referring and receiving hospitals must be updated about any changes in the patient’s status. There should be open and continual communication between the medical command and the transporting vehicle. The key elements of a safe interfacility transfer include communicating the transfer decision; stabilizing and preparing the patient; choosing the appropriate means of transport; determining the degree of monitoring required during transport; and ensuring a smooth patient handover to the receiving facility. While Motient’s Mission Control solution provides essential support for all of these functions, hospitals without a patient transport tool may struggle to manage the logistics of the transfer process on their own.

Why is a standardized infrastructure necessary?

As the pandemic has shown us, patients who spend too much time in the wrong level of care have a ripple effect across healthcare, impacting the number of beds available for high-acuity patients. Ideally, hospitals and other healthcare facilities should be able to access regional patient transport data to give them insight into capacity blockages, available specialty resources, and ongoing needs.

Hospitals that establish an overarching process for how they will handle interfacility transfers will be better equipped to make fast, efficient choices to reduce risks and maintain care quality. By specifying best practices for certain clinical conditions, patient circumstances, and system and staffing constraints, hospitals can conserve limited resources and deliver patients to the best possible care setting.

More and more hospitals are beginning to collaborate with their regional counterparts to develop a better infrastructure for patient movement. For example, larger academic medical centers might agree to receiving patients from urgent care centers and rural hospitals, while smaller hospitals might commit to receiving lower-acuity patients plus a particular subspecialty. When hospitals work together, they can better ensure that all patients receive the care they need without blocking movement within the larger ecosystem.

While regional collaboration was important before COVID-19, it is now essential. Motient’s Mission Control gives hospitals the tools they need to streamline the transfer process. As hospitals refine their own patient movement performance, they will be better equipped to partner with other facilities to establish a regional transfer infrastructure—one that ensures every patient is treated in the best possible location for his or her condition.

To learn more, read this article by Motient co-founder Martin Sellberg, MD, FACEP, How Patient Movement Benefits from Standardized Acuity Scoring in HIT Consultant.

Mission Control Feature Alert: General Availability of Embedded Insights

Mission Control is pleased to announce that accessing your data just became easier.

We believe that the insights empowered by the data we collect on your behalf have the potential to reshape the way you think about patient movement. In the past, we have provided this information through a third-party platform that required a separate log-in and password. We’re committed to making our technology as efficient and easy as possible for you, so starting today you can access Mission Control Analytics within the existing application at No new login. No new password to manage. Just an easy “click” on the Insights tab will bring you straight to the content you need.

No new login. No new password to manage. Just an easy “click” on the Insights tab will bring you straight to the content you need.

Once you navigate to the Insights tab, you can choose from the available reports on the left-hand side.

There are a couple of handy icons in the top right-hand corner: Full Screen (you guessed it, that makes the report Full Screen-sized) and Bookmark. You can create Bookmarks to save specific filters and clicks or save your work and come back to it later. For example, you could set the date to “Last 30 days”, filter to Time Critical Diagnosis = “true,” click on “Stroke” in the Working Dx visual, and save this Bookmark as “Past Month TCD Strokes.” Next time you log in, you can access this Bookmark and get straight to Insights.

Any time you see data in a table, you still have the ability to “export” to a .xcl file or .csv. This can be an effective way to make comments on past transfers that may need further review.

Additionally, all Medical users will now have access to My Missions, a new interactive dashboard that shows you basic info about the patients you have transferred, like common diagnoses, destinations, and acuity distribution.

Keep in mind, this data is limited to only missions that you have created.

Also newly available is the Facility Info dashboard, where a user can see the contact info, preferred destinations, and preferred vendors. This allows users to reference the information being leveraged by Mission Control Operators to carry out the mission according to your hospital’s set preferences. This information can be easily updated upon request to ensure that we are always executing on your behalf, according to your needs.

For you quality directors, ED directors, directors of nursing, CNOs, and others tasked with leading the organization, you can request access to Transfer Insights, and see rich data across every single transfer entered into Mission Control. This is where the magic starts to happen. What time of day do we tend to transfer Orthopedic patients? How long does it take for a vendor to arrive for time-critical strokes? Where am I sending the most STEMIs and by what mode?

All you need to do is reach out to and we will get you up and running (with demos happily available). Training material is also available under the gear icon inside Mission Control.

At Motient, we are committed to continuing to provide you with the most comprehensive data and the most dynamic analytics that we can provide.

More content is planned for release later this year, so look out for exciting announcements this summer.

2021: Motient Year in Review

Disparities and Inequalities in Rural Healthcare and Patient Movement

Rural hospitals face a harsher reality than their urban counterparts.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched the Healthy People initiative in 2010, with the explicit mission to improve the quality of life for all Americans.1 “Rurality” is recognized by the initiative as one of its 14 health disparities because the accessibility of sufficient healthcare for rural residents is significantly less than that compared to people living in more densely populated urban centers.2

And unfortunately, the disparities and inequities of healthcare accessibility for rural residents continue to grow in severity due to the progression of several critical issues rippling throughout the entire healthcare industry. In our new eBook, The Recent Rise of Disparities and Inequities in Rural Healthcare, we examine three of the most recent challenges that hospitals in the country face today. Then we uncover through extensive research how these challenges disproportionately impact rural hospitals.

The three main challenges for hospitals today

Hospital staffing shortages

As reported by HHS, about 16% of all hospitals are experiencing critical staffing shortages.3 However, even before the nationwide spike in healthcare staffing issues, only 11% of all physicians practiced in rural areas. To make matters even worse, 65% of all healthcare professional shortages occur in these same areas.2

Hospital closures

Due to a lack of staff and a limitation of revenue-generating patient services spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals struggle to keep their lights on. Nationwide, there have been an average of 16.4 hospital closures since 2015, resulting in a decline in the number of hospitals from 1,887 to 1,805. Rural hospitals make up an astounding 59% of these closures.4

Response delays and EMS transportation times were already much longer in rural areas than urban ones. Now, as more rural hospitals close, transportation times are increasing — while the likelihood of positive patient outcomes decreases because of delayed access to care.5,6

Worsening socioeconomic factors

People in rural areas tend to be poorer and older than those in urban centers. They live in higher concentrations of poverty, and 18% of them are aged 65 years or older (compared to 13% of the urban population). Rural areas also saw a 0.4% rise in the unemployment rate from 2010 to 1018, while urban areas saw a 4% employment rate growth.6

Based on the preexisting socioeconomic conditions, it’s easy to assume that rural hospitals were already operating on tighter margins than urban ones. In fact, many of them were already operating in negative margins.7 But with rising unemployment and a dwindling population (a 2% decline was observed between 2010 and 20186), more rural hospitals will likely be shuttering in the coming months and years — ultimately resulting in an even greater disparity in healthcare access.

How to overcome disparities and inequalities in rural healthcare

Rural hospitals are tasked with providing positive patient outcomes to an older, sicker, and poorer population than hospitals in urban areas. To do so, these hospitals must contend with staffing shortages, fewer hospitals over greater distances of travel, and worsening socioeconomic conditions.

Download our eBook, The Recent Rise of Disparities and Inequities in Rural Healthcare. You’ll learn more facts and realities behind the challenges that put access to healthcare in rural areas at greater risk — and you’ll find out what can be done to overcome disparities and inequalities in rural healthcare.


  1. HHS announces the nation’s new health promotion and disease prevention agenda.
  2. Rural Healthy People 2020. Texas A&M Health Science Center.
  3. Vaccine Mandates Hit Amid Historic Health-Care Staff Shortage.
  4. U.S. Rural Hospitals Fast Facts. American Hospital Association.
  5. Rural Hospital Closures Maps, 2005 – Present.
  6. Affected Residents Had Reduced Access to Health Care Services.
  7. The Causes of Rural Hospital Problems.

Hospital ICU bed capacity continues to be impacted by COVID

For Coffey County Hospital in Burlington, Kansas, the stress of COVID-19 is all too real. With no ICU unit, the hospital needs to transfer patients to surrounding hospitals — a task that can sometimes take hundreds of calls for a single patient. The difficulty of finding available beds and coordinating patient transfer highlights the need for software for Motient’s Mission Control, which can share the availability of ICU beds in real-time and help arrange the most efficient mode of patient movement. 

To learn more about the struggles rural hospitals like Coffey County Hospital are facing—and how Mission Control can help — read the full article

Informed Choices Change Model for Transporting Patients

In a recent podcast, Motient co-founder Dr. Richard Watson details how his company’s Mission Control platform is helping rural hospitals improve patient movement — and raising the quality of care and increasing sustainability as a result. 

To learn more about the impact of movement on patient outcomes, read the podcast transcript

Inside Mission Control: Hospital capacity in Kansas at its worst with latest COVID-19 surge

Data collected from Motient’s Mission Control software highlights the importance of vaccination: The highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 has infected more than 1,000 Kansans per day for the past 2 months. As a result, the lack of available beds is leading to hard conversations about if (and how) to ration medical care. 

To learn more about what the data from Mission Control shows, read the full article

More people are dying from COVID-19; experts explain shocking numbers

Kansas doctors say they’re seeing more deaths from severe coronavirus infection, with year-over-year mortality rising from 1.8-2% to 2.5-5%. To provide patients with the appropriate level of care and lower this increase in mortality, healthcare providers need tools to locate beds and oversee patient transfers as efficiently as possible, a process that currently takes 12 hours on average.  

To learn how healthcare workers can close that 12-hour window and help patients receive critical care faster, read the full article

On the Frontier: Patient Transportation After a Trauma Incident

According to the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, more than 150,000 deaths are the result of injury each year in the United States. In fact, physical trauma is the number one cause of death for people 45 years old and younger.1 So, what can healthcare providers do to improve outcomes for trauma patients and drive this yearly death rate down, especially in rural areas?

While there are many factors in any given traumatic injury that can ultimately contribute to a patient’s death – for example, the existing heart disease of someone who sustained a severe electrical shock – there are two critical factors that are consistently present in every life-threatening trauma that also plays a role in impacting patient outcome:

  • Proximity to an appropriate trauma center
  • The efficiency in which a sending hospital initiates, oversees, and completes patient transfer

To better understand how healthcare providers can gain more control over these two factors and help improve the outcomes of their trauma patients, we need to first understand the footprint of American’s Trauma Center Network.

Navigating the Trauma Center network

There’s an expansive network of trauma centers throughout the US, with each center designated as Level I, Level II, Level III, Level IV, or Level V. The criteria that determine a trauma center’s level vary from state to state, but generally a Level I Trauma Center can provide total care for the most critical injuries, while a Level V Trauma Center can offer basic emergency department services and has trauma nurse(s) and physicians available upon a patient’s arrival.2

Rural states, however, tend to have fewer Level I Trauma Centers. Additionally, rural hospitals that are a part of the trauma network are usually more spread out across greater geographic distances than those in urban areas. For example, Montana is the fourth largest state with over 145,000 square miles of land,3 yet it has no designated Level I Trauma Centers. (It does have 4 Level II Trauma Centers and 3 Level III Trauma Centers.)4

So, if an EMS team brings a trauma patient to a Level III Trauma Center in Montana for stabilization, but the hospital determines the patient needs the care of at least a Level II Trauma Center, then there’s little time to waste in coordinating patient transfer.

Fortunately, with a greater insight into which surrounding hospital is most capable of providing the necessary level of care (weighed against geographic distance, patient condition, and other variables), plus the ability to designate the mode of transport and oversee patient movement in an efficient manner, the sending hospital can efficiently and rapidly manage and oversee every aspect of the patient’s transfer to a Level II Trauma Center.

Improving trauma outcomes with Mission Control

With Mission Control, Motient’s SaaS platform, healthcare providers in or out of the Trauma Center network can coordinate the most appropriate and efficient transport possible for stabilized patients.

Sending hospitals in rural areas can use Mission Control to gain real-time insight into the capabilities and capacities of surrounding Trauma Centers. Informed by their own patient assessment and guided by the previously inaccessible data delivered to them via Mission Control, healthcare providers can better ensure that trauma patients receive the appropriate care they need as fast as possible. Mission Control helps them to rapidly determine the receiving hospital most likely to optimize a patient outcome, arrange the appropriate ground or air transport, and coordinate with all stakeholders – from EMS teams to the receiving hospital – seamlessly and in real-time, every step of the way.

Learn more about how Mission Control can help you improve patient outcomes for trauma victims – and let’s work together to bring down the national death rate.


  1. Trauma Facts
  2. Trauma Center Levels Explained
  3. Size of States
  4. Trauma Centers

Covid-19 PTSD in healthcare workers is real—and technology can help mitigate the impact

30% of healthcare workers are considering leaving the profession due to pandemic-related stress. As the Delta variant surges on, we understand trauma for healthcare providers isn’t over, but we are hopeful that technology can make a small impact in lightening the load for our frontline heroes. 

To learn how technology can help alleviate stress for healthcare workers, read the full article

3 ways health care leadership can get nurses back at the bedside

Nurses shouldn’t be bogged down by tedious paperwork or endless charting; they should have every opportunity to care for their patients. Fortunately, there are three ways healthcare leadership can embrace technology and get nurses back to the bedside. 

To learn what those three ways are, read the full article.

Motient Supports Newman Regional Health During Delta Variant COVID-19 Surge

Newman Regional Health, a Kansas-based critical access hospital, is running at 110% of its pre-COVID-19 inpatient acute care capacity. Open beds in its hospital are becoming more challenging to find. There’s also a growing lack of beds in larger nearby facilities, where patients are routinely sent to receive specialized care. Some patients have to travel up to 10 hours to find the closest hospital with bed availability as a result.

Motient’s Mission Control equips Newman Regional Health with the tools and data to find available beds efficiently and efficiently coordinate every aspect of patient movement.

To learn the impact Mission Control is having for Newman Regional Health, read the full article.

When Time Is Critical: The Role of Patient Movement in the Treatment of Sepsis

Sepsis poses a significant healthcare challenge, especially in rural areas of the country. If not treated quickly and efficiently, it can result in organ failure, tissue damage, and, ultimately, death. Two hundred and seventy thousand people die from sepsis each year in the United States – approximately one death every 2 minutes.1 So to provide the level of supportive care necessary to treat sepsis and prevent a patient from going into shock or dying, healthcare providers need to:

  • Recognize sepsis in a patient as early as possible
  • Provide the required level of supportive care
  • Rapidly coordinate and transport patients when necessary

The not-so-subtle impact of medical transportation  when treating sepsis

When a patient suffering from sepsis arrives in the ER, the hospital may not have the level of supportive care needed for treatment, depending on the patient’s severity and the hospital’s facilities or equipment. But much like a heart attack or trauma sustained from a life-threatening injury, the speed and level of treatment in the initial hours after a diagnosis are paramount. In other words, how fast healthcare providers can get a sepsis patient access to the treatment they need will undoubtedly impact that patient’s outcome.

And many times, especially in smaller, more rural communities where greater distances separate healthcare facilities, this means arranging the proper medical transport to the right healthcare location as soon as possible. Because for every hour that treatment is delayed, a patient’s risk of death increases by almost 8%.2

Treating sepsis like the medical emergency that it is 

Once a sepsis diagnosis has been determined – whether it’s made by the healthcare team at the hospital or the first responders on location – there’s little time to assess the level of care needed. There’s even less time to figure out where that level of care can be provided and subsequently coordinate the appropriate transport, be it by ambulance, fixed wing, or helicopter. That means decisions are made quickly. And when a decision is made to transfer a patient, then transportation arrangements must be made efficiently and effectively to save precious time.

However, the fastest mode of transportation must also be weighed against the patient’s most urgent needs. Will a certain transport have the necessary equipment? Can transport and the destination hospital be able to accommodate a patient’s comorbidities? These are only some of the factors that must be taken into consideration – all the while, the clock continues to tick.

How to choose clinically justified medical transport for sepsis patients 

We can help healthcare providers save precious time when arranging medical transport for sepsis patients. Mission Control is our SaaS platform that equips providers and nurses with the tools and data necessary for selecting the appropriate medical transport method. The Mission Control team seamlessly and efficiently handle transport logistics, communicates with all stakeholders, and analyzes transport and facility resource utilization. Sepsis patients get to the treatment they need faster — and healthcare providers see improved patient outcomes.

Learn more about how Mission Control can help you improve the patient outcomes for sepsis patients here.


  1. Here’s Why Now Is the Time to Learn About Sepsis.
  2. Treatment.

A Straight Line to Higher Survival Rates: Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Patient Movement

When it comes to sudden cardiac arrest, having immediate access to hospital care more than doubles a patient’s chances of survival.

According to 2019 data, only 11% of all patients in the U.S. who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survive. And that’s after being administered emergency medical services.1 Conversely, the median survival rate for those who experience sudden cardiac arrest in a hospital is approximately 25%.2 That’s over a two-fold increase.

The role of EMS response times in surviving sudden cardiac arrest

So, if a patient can’t have immediate access to hospital care or a higher level of care, then the ability to transport that patient to a medical facility as fast as possible becomes paramount. While studies on the correlation between EMS response times in the survival rate of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests are a bit sparse in the U.S., a 2020 study conducted in Sweden highlights the need for efficient patient response and transport. In its findings, the study observed that survival of up to 30 days after a sudden cardiac arrest were notably higher in cases where EMS response times were less than 10 minutes.3

In other words, there’s a straight line between fast EMS response and transport and an increased likelihood of survival for sudden cardiac arrest patients. When someone suffers a cardiac arrest outside of the hospital, the responding EMS will take the patient to the nearest medical care facility. But many times — especially in rural areas — the hospital that’s closest may not be capable of providing the level of care needed. In these situations, the patient will be stabilized—but they’ll still need to be transported to a hospital that can provide the proper care.

So, if healthcare providers hope to drive up the current 11% survival rate of patients who suffer out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests, they must make coordinating and overseeing the transport of these patients from one hospital to another as efficient and seamless as possible. But how?

Addressing the logistical setbacks that slow down patient care 

Until you can remove the hurdles that drive up EMS response and transport times, survival rates for patients suffering from sudden cardiac arrests will continue to be negatively impacted. Some of these hurdles include information silos (such as lack of visibility into a receiving hospital’s capacity and capability) and communication silos (lack of real-time coordination and updates across all stakeholders).

And for rural hospitals, geography is another critical hurdle. Hospitals in rural areas are more spread out across counties versus those found in bigger urban centers. Not only are EMS teams and those coordinating patient transport stifled by lack of information and communication, but they’re often tasked with moving patients over long distances.

If you as a healthcare provider want to improve the survival rates of patients suffering from sudden cardiac arrests, then you need to:

How to improve outcomes for patients suffering from sudden cardiac arrests

At Motient, we’ve developed Mission Control, our SaaS platform to help healthcare providers rapidly coordinate the most appropriate transport possible for patients once they have been stabilized. By using Mission Control to coordinate and manage patient movement between hospitals, healthcare providers can actively work to increase the likelihood of survival after a sudden cardiac arrest.

EMS teams and hospitals can use Mission Control to view patient-movement data in a single place and communicate seamlessly with each other in real-time. For those in charge of coordinating patient movement, Mission Control helps them determine how time-critical a patient’s care is and which hospital (considering on-site equipment, staff expertise, geographic location, and other important variables) is most likely to offer the best possible care.

Mission Control also captures and brings together otherwise inaccessible data on a single analytics platform, providing teams with real-time insights across the entire patient movement process. While never collecting protected health information (PHI), Mission Control still enables the analyses of a patient’s condition, factors such as response times and course of treatment, and outcomes. These analytics are then applied when coordinating patient movement to further help improve patient survival rates.

Learn more about how Mission Control can help you increase the efficiency of patient movement — and improve the survival rates of patients suffering from sudden cardiac arrests.


  1. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2021 Update
  2. Survival After In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest in Critically Ill Patients
  3. Shortening Ambulance Response Time Increases Survival in Out‐of‐Hospital Cardiac Arrest

COVID-19: Bed and Staff Shortages Can Bring Patient Movement to a Standstill

As of September 16, roughly 54% of the US population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.1 While that’s encouraging – and the number of vaccinated Americans continues to climb with a 7-day average of 413,000 administered vaccines2 – a myriad of cultural, regional, and economic factors still poses a challenge for COVID patients in need of hospitalization.

So far in September, the country is seeing an average of 145,000 new cases every day.3 Out of those cases, the daily number of COVID patients requiring admission into a hospital averages 93,000.4 And, unfortunately, hospitals everywhere are feeling the strain.

In the first week of September, NPR reported that 59% of all hospitals were under high or extreme stress.5 But what does this mean, exactly? Based on a framework developed by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME),6 a hospital is operating under high stress when COVID patients occupy 30% or more of its ICU beds. When the number of COVID patients using ICU beds reaches 60%, then the hospital is operating under “extreme stress.”

In Kansas during the month of August, Motient’s patient-movement platform, Mission Control, saw two weeks in a row where hospitals were almost fully at capacity — and the other three weeks were still running much higher than normal.

A ‘3’ is considered ‘At Capacity.’ 

The federal government released new data that shows a marked decline in the number of hospitals considered either “high” or “extreme stress” when measured against the IHME (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation) framework – dropping down to 45% of all hospitals.7

Still, this is nearly half of the hospitals in the United States. And when looking at the government’s most recent data through the lens of states with the smallest to largest populations, a clear takeaway comes into focus: More sparsely populated states with the biggest rural areas are being hit the hardest.

There are 23 states with hospitals that fall into the “high” or “extreme stress” category (Idaho is the only state to reach “extreme stress,” with Covid patients occupying 60% of its ICU beds). Out of those 23 states, 14 of them have populations under 5 million: Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Hawaii, Idaho, West Virginia, New Mexico, Mississippi, Arkansas, Utah, Oklahoma, Oregon, Kentucky, and Alabama.8

This means that 60% of all hospitals considered to be “stressed” with COVID ICU hospitalizations are in many of our least populated states.7

The Challenge of Patient Transportation in the Time of COVID-19

Hundreds of rural hospitals now teeter on the brink of being overwhelmed by the current numbers of COVID patients in their ICUs. The rural healthcare system is already plagued with staff and resource shortages, which only add another layer of complexity when trying to get a COVID patient – or any patient for that matter – to the hospital most capable of giving the appropriate level of treatment and care.

In rural communities, nurses and other healthcare providers in rural communities need fast insight into which surrounding hospitals have the capacity, treatment capability, and resources necessary to provide immediate and urgent care to a COVID patient. Currently, for many nurses and hospital staffers, the effort of communicating, coordinating, and handling various administrative aspects of patient movement simply takes too much time, too much back and forth across stakeholders, and too much focus that’s better spent elsewhere.

Cut the Time It Takes to Provide COVID Patients the Care They Need

We can help nurses and others in rural communities quickly find a hospital capable of taking and treating their COVID patients – and we can also help them expedite the arrangement of appropriate medical transport. Mission Control, powered by Motient, equips providers with the tools and data necessary for selecting the medical transportation best suited for their COVID patients, including equipment and mode of travel. With Mission Control, networked healthcare providers use an acuity assessment tool to select medical transport. They can also use a single dashboard to seamlessly oversee all transport logistics, communicate with all stakeholders, and analyze transport and facility resource utilization.

As hospitals in rural areas continue to struggle with COVID hospitalizations, the ability to quickly find and arrange transport to a healthcare facility able to take patients is perhaps more pressing now than ever. In August in Kansas, our Communications Team called on average, over sixty facilities per mission (per patient) for two weeks in a row on behalf of care teams. That’s valuable time that care teams were able to spend doing what they do best — providing life-saving care to the patients who need them most, where and when they need them most.

Learn more about how Mission Control, powered by Motient, can add value to your facility — and keep care teams doing what they do best: Providing lifesaving, excellent care.


  1. COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States.
  2. Trends in Number of COVID-19 Vaccinations in the US.
  3. Trends in Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in the US Reported to CDC, by State/Territory.
  4. Prevalent Hospitalizations of Patients with Confirmed COVID-19, US.
  5. Where Are Hospitals Overwhelmed By COVID-19 Patients? Look Up Your State.
  6. COVID-19 Results Briefing: the United States of America.
  7. COVID-19 Reported Patient Impact and Hospital Capacity by State.
  8. US Census Bureau.

On the Frontier: With Stroke

Approximately 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year.1 But many people who suffer from a stroke don’t live within easy distance of a healthcare facility — not just for emergency purposes, but for preventative measures like doctors’ appointments.

A doctor’s appointment might be a ten-minute drive and an hour or two out of their day in urban areas. However, in rural or frontier areas, a doctor’s visit could be one or more hours each way and at least half a day of missed work. “Rural patients — especially with lower-income jobs — often don’t have the time or financial flexibility to do that.”2

The Complexity of Stroke Diagnosis and Treatment

One way of the complexities in managing stroke is how it is diagnosed on that first presentation. Myocardial Infarction (“MI” or heart attack) can be diagnosed by electrocardiogram (ECG), blood tests, and other non-interventional activity within minutes of being admitted to the emergency department, while those with symptoms of stroke have a quick bedside history and neurologic assessment for the preliminary diagnosis, followed by a computed tomography brain scan to assess what type of stroke may be occurring.

Evidence-based medicine shows that obtaining a patient history (last known time well), completing a standardized functional neurologic assessment via a stroke scale, and getting them to the CT scan as quickly as possible provides the patient a best opportunity for a correct diagnosis and treatment. Timely CT exams, access to radiologists, neurologists, and labs equipped for neurological intervention are key limiters to rural treatment of stroke.

Considering these diagnostic and treatment complexities, time is the greatest challenge in this situation. Every nurse or physician caring for a stroke patient is against the clock once the patient arrives in the ER. Time is brain: “Up to two million brain cells die every minute when oxygen and nutrients are cut off.”2

CT scans are part of the standard of care when diagnosing stroke patients. Even though the CT scan takes just minutes to complete, it then requires a radiologist’s interpretation after sending the images digitally, which can take up to 45 minutes. Once all the data points and tests results are in, a diagnosis of what type of stroke, and what type of intervention is needed, can be made. Adding to that is time spent finding an accepting physician at a hospital, securing emergency medical services (EMS), and preparing the patient for what is next, to transfer to a primary or comprehensive stroke center for further care and evaluation.

Stroke cases don’t happen in rural hospitals every day, so these providers stay sharp and prepared through training and predetermined processes and workflows for time-critical cases like this. In spite of this, a rural facility might receive 10-30 cases per year, but they likely won’t be seen by the same caregivers.

Rural Facilities Cope with Shortages in Resources

The further a patient lives from a healthcare facility, the more time can be lost before accessing care. If staffing is a challenge, there may not be a full-time CT person on staff — one must be called in, adding time to the already fragile “time is brain” window. To add to that, one resource has found it can take over an hour to receive the scan results.2 The time increases can be the difference between recovery and disability.

Another obstacle rural facilities face in stroke cases is that they may not store fibrinolytic, a clot-busting drug that is needed to treat some types of strokes. It’s expensive, and once reconstituted, it expires quickly. Since resources and funds are scarce in rural facilities, it’s not something that can be risked wasting. Research confirms that rural patients with stroke are “less likely to receive intravenous thrombolysis or endovascular therapy and had higher in-hospital mortality than their urban counterparts.”3

Putting a Proactive Plan in Place

Every healthcare practitioner strives to provide the best possible care for their patients. When your patients can be the people you live amongst in rural communities, there is an almost tribal pressure to protect and take care of your own.

When resources aren’t available, it’s necessary to put a plan in place so that the process can begin as seamlessly and quickly as possible. In many frontier areas, transport is the biggest delay. Patient movement systems can help save time and lives [link to Mission Control]. If the patient needs to be transferred — sometimes over 250 miles away or more — it can mean important “brain-time” for the hospital to have a patient movement platform in place that helps the care team align the appropriate destination and transport mode with the patient’s needs.

What Must Happen for Change to Occur

These are all reasons why rural hospitals need to have a stroke champion, standardization of processes, and support from the administration when putting processes in place for sustainability. In one such case, a nurse in rural Kansas decided to champion the case of strokes in her hospital. After completing a review of strokes over several years and viewing the CDC website for stroke mortality, she was determined to move the needle and implement standardized stroke care. She got others in her hospital excited about it, and they worked together to find resources to increase fibrinolytic usage for the appropriate patients and lower the rate of strokes in their county. Dr. Karen E. Joynt Maddox, senior study author of Urban-Rural Inequities in Acute Stroke Care and In-Hospital Mortality, states: “… cardiovascular and other health outcomes are much worse in rural areas… This study shines light on one area where changes in care, such as the introduction of telehealth or other programs, could really make a difference.”4

The gap between geographic and resource limitations in rural communities shouldn’t be a factor in the access or quality of care people receive for strokes. Fundamental changes to processes and facing the existing inequities and disparities in healthcare must occur.

On the frontier, it’s a reality that we can have all the passion in the world, but we need resources. We need plans. We need change.

And we need champions.

If you’re interested in a patient movement solution for your healthcare facility, contact us today.


  1. Stroke. CDC. May 3, 2021.
  2. Closing the gap for stroke patients in rural areas. Cliff Mehrtens. December 2, 2020.
  3. Urban-Rural Inequities in Acute Stroke Care and In-Hospital Mortality. Gmerice Hammond, Alina A. Luke, Lauren Elson, Amytis Towfighi, Karen E. Joynt Maddox. Stroke. 2020;51:2131–2138.
  4. Stroke patients more likely to die in rural hospitals than in urban ones. American Heart Association News. June 18, 2020.
  5. Stroke survival rates worse in rural areas, study says. Julia Evangelou Strait. June 18, 2020.

Taking the Next Step Together — With Our New Name

I am excited to let you know about some changes that our team has been working on that represent us combining your feedback with our best efforts to move our organization forward. 

Our company, Cheyenne Mountain Software, will now be known as Motient (pronounced moh-shunt, in case you’re wondering). Mission Control, the product most of you know, will remain the same. I’d love to tell you more about why we’ve made this shift and why we’re excited about it — and why we want you to be, too. 

As part of the change, we have a new name and a new logo, but those elements are only part of what a brand is. Our brand is a promise to you. This promise is to help all of you to harness the power of patient movement. When it comes to moving patients, we want to bring simplicity to what can be, at times, a complicated process. We want to give you tools to help you to be proactive instead of reactive in situations that can turn in an instant. You need data and tools that create sustainability in moving patients and sustainability overall in your organization or system. Our new brand better represents this promise.  

We will continue to empower you with transformational, system-changing solutions so you — as healthcare, data, quality, and medical professionals — can do what you do best.  

In terms of how you work with us today, everything will stay the same, except for our home website and email addresses, which will now come from Regarding Mission Control, in particular, you don’t need to change or do anything different. 

To learn more about this change and to help us to stay connected, here are a few things you can do: 

  • Visit and bookmark our new website and be on the lookout for exciting updates, like blogs, white papers, and other thought leadership materials 

  • Keep an eye out for our new social media pages 

  • Add communications from to your contacts so we don’t go to the dreaded Spam folder 

We’re thrilled to share this journey with you as we embark on this next step, and we are grateful for your continued support. As always, please feel welcome to respond directly to this email or contact us with feedback here

What can we accomplish, together, when we harness the power of patient movement? Let’s find out.  


Dallan Huff 
President, Motient 


The Language of Sickness: Indexing patients at the Intersection of Patient Assessment Scores

Patient assessment scores exist to stratify patients traditionally by using specific anatomical and physiological indices. An assessment score can help the health care team determine the appropriate triage, aid in decision-making through standardization of clinical findings, and objectively score the severity of the patient’s illness or injury.

A Snapshot of Patient Assessment Scores

Patient assessment scores are used throughout the healthcare continuum from nurse to physician and from outpatient to inpatient. Some scores inform decision-making, such as the Braden Scale, Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol-Revised (CIWA-AR), or the Modified Early Warning Score (MEWS). In contrast, others assess the severity of illness or injuries, like the National Institutes of Health Stroke Score (NIHSS), Glasgow Coma Scale (GSC), and Injury Severity Score (ISS).

A Common Language of Sickness

These scores exist as a universal language in medicine: Without having fluency in each other’s mother tongue, a healthcare professional in rural Kansas and urban New Delhi would understand a patient with a GCS of 7 or an ISS of 15.

These internationally recognized patient assessment scores allow healthcare professionals to gauge patients’ clinical conditions and potential needs based on units of physiological data. Others exist to assist in care decision-making within a specific scenario. Still, no current methods exist for identifying and quantifying into a common language the elements of a patient’s condition when hospital transfer is needed.

A Remaining Utility Exists Despite Score Saturation

With this wealth of scoring methodologies, a natural saturation occurs: How many is too many? Scoring system fatigue occurs, and some scores are naturally weeded out according to how much utility they provide. Certain scoring systems become mainstream while others get left behind because there are simply too many, too complex, or used in such rare circumstances that their lack of utility is the cause of their extinction.

However, none of the current scoring methodologies illuminate the unique variables and considerations inherent to adult interfacility transfers. Removing a patient from the resource-rich environment of a hospital setting requires a practical understanding of the level of care necessary during transport to maintain established stability, and the risk of patient deterioration outside the environs of a hospital, along with identifying the severity of illness or injury.

Interfacility Transport: Measuring More Than Miles

One of the current gaps in interfacility patient transport is not having guidance to clinical scoring that assesses the illness and injury severity and risk when taken out of the resource-rich environment of an ED or hospital bed. What is the best type of transport for a patient who needs a neurological intervention 60 miles away versus a non-time critical orthopedic injured patient at the same facility and their receiving hospital is 200 miles away? Before deciding on BLS, ALS, or critical care, air or ground, what questions must be answered?

The Acuity Index: Capturing Severity of Illness, Level of Care Needs, and Risk for Deterioration During Transfer

The lack of a method to objectively quantify the nuances present in adult interfacility patient transfers has created the need for the Acuity Index. The Acuity Index is based on decades of emergency medicine and medical transport experience specific to the context of emergent interfacility patient transfers.

The Acuity Index addresses the question of “how sick is this patient,” which informs the level or urgency in moving the patient to definitive care and the risk of patient deterioration during the transport process by capturing information in three key areas to guide transfer decisions.

1. Level of care that will be needed at the destination facility and time criticality of the working diagnosis

2. Physiological support or intervention that has been instituted to maintain patient stability

3. Common factors that contribute to the risk of deterioration during transfer

The information gathered under these categories stratifies and assigns a numerical value to each patient. The value reflects both the patient’s illness level or severity along with the level of care needed in the transfer process such that the patient maintains or ascends the level of care ladder through this acute phase of their clinical journey.

Creating a Common Language for Interfacility Patient Transfer

The value of the Acuity Index score is specific to patient movement. Other scoring systems can measure patient conditions and influence treatment options for future research, outcome measurement, and reimbursement purposes. The Acuity Index explicitly scores a patient’s condition as appropriate for transport between the sender, EMS services, and the receiver. It has a specific use and value applied directly to patient movement.

The Acuity Index introduces another language for the medical world in a transfer scoring system. However, instead of increasing saturation, the Acuity Index fills a much-needed gap: The Acuity Index asks eight questions, broken into three parts, to determine patient level of care, physiological support, and risk of deterioration. The Acuity Index asks straightforward questions that consider clinical workload, risk, transport, a prognostic perspective of the patient, all critical components of moving the patient between controlled and uncontrolled environments.

Mission Control Feature Alert: New Facility Reporting

At Mission Control, everything we do is with you — our customers — in mind. We’ve been hard at work to help you derive even more value from the analytics pages. We’ve heard your feedback — and we’re excited to announce we’ve improved the reporting to align with your requests.

Mission Control has a new layout that now provides more information, is optimized to efficiently provide fast access to important metrics, and — somehow — is even more beautiful to behold than the dashboards you have been previously using.

Even better? The new URL is also simpler and easy to remember:

There are multiple ways to access the analytics.

  1. Browser access from a standard workstation (bookmark the page for easier access)
  2. Mobile devices via the PowerBI App on mobile devices
    1. download the mobile app

New Features: Filtering, Drilling Down, Bookmarking, and Lassoing


You can now filter at the top of the screen. This makes it simpler to find what you’re looking for: faster, easier, and more efficiently.

Drilling Down

Want to see more information about a mission, or get more specific about a certain time, day, or diagnosis? Now, you can drill through to Mission Details or Working Diagnosis to the Weekday / Time of Day page.

Any time you see the “Finger pointer” icon for right click to drill through and see greater detail. For example, any time you see a Mission # you can drill through to the details page to view the patient details and mission notes.

Mission Control Facility Reporting – DEMO – Power BI — Watch Video


Selecting multiple categories is easier than ever before: Introducing “lasso” multi-select. You can now rope in multiple categories by holding down the left-click and dragging your mouse across categories.

Mission Control Facility Reporting – DEMO – Power BI — Watch Video

As a reminder, you can click all visuals to filter the rest of the content on the page, and you can layer this filter by holding the “Ctrl” key (or the “Command” key on a Mac). This layering ability works with the lasso selection tool as well.


Find yourself setting the same filters every time you visit a page? Now, you can ave yourself some time and create a bookmark. For example, let’s say you always want to view “Time Critical missions with a Working Diagnosis of ‘Trauma’ in the past 7 days.” You can simply create a personal bookmark called “Trauma past 7d” and save yourself a few clicks (and cut down on the potential for mistakes).

It sounds almost too good, but we swear it’s true: You can set any filters and click on any visuals to create any kind of context – then simply head to the top right corner of the screen, click the bookmark icon, and select “Add a personal bookmark.”

New Pages

We’re also thrilled to introduce new pages to Mission Control.

Weekday / Time of Day Page

The Weekday/Time of Day page assesses patterns in diagnosis and vendor performance. For example, you can explore if there is a high concentration of Non-Time Critical orthopedic incidents on afternoon weekends, or if there is a high amount of revenue leakage from cardiac patient transfers when your cardiologist is on call. Or you can see if the median time for the vendor to arrive spikes on weekends overnight — if you want to assess a pattern in diagnosis and vendor performance, it’s at your fingertips.

Transfer Map Page

The Transfer Map page provides spatial visualization of transfers per destination. This is a basic map visualization of where your patients are being sent.

If you ever feel lost, or just want more information, just click on the “i” icon for onscreen tips and info. And don’t hesitate to reach out to if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

Other News

Data User training content now available! A little bit of your time can give you greater mastery of your data and allow you to more proficiently unlock the important insights.

To access your account:

  1. Visit
  2. Click the “reset password” link below the login button:
  3. You will have a link emailed to your inbox for setting your password and can then login at

Remember: Using Mission Control for the movement of every patient creates data fidelity and increased value and increased value for your facility. In other words, the more you use Mission Control, the more you will get out of it!

For questions, feedback, or suggestions on how to make this experience more useful, please reach out to And remember to bookmark — and visit often —

On the Frontier: With a Healthcare Crisis

*On the Frontier is an ongoing series exploring the realities of rural healthcare. If you would like to contribute or have questions, please contact us.

On the frontier, rural healthcare facilities endure experiences that other healthcare facilities don’t. Some are enjoyable aspects of small-town living, such as knowing your patients as friends and neighbors. But more complicated is living with scarcities in resources.  

There are daily financial, clinical, time, and resource-related realities of being a rural healthcare professional that urban and suburban peers might not consider. A harsh statistic rural residents face? From 1999-2019, rural areas suffered the highest age-adjusted mortality rates (AAMRs). In fact, during this time the disparity in mortality between rural and large metro areas tripled.

Why did this occur? A few reasons are most likely. There are far fewer resources available in rural healthcare facilities. There is generally far less money allocated. When patients need specialty care, the facilities they need to be transferred to are spread further apart.

People, including highly skilled people like doctors and other medical professionals, too often leave rural areas in favor of more densely populated regions. This, of course, means that there are fewer highly skilled people available — and even fewer specialists, such as cardiologists, neurosurgeons, or pediatric specialists. Of course, normal circumstances were further exacerbated by rural hospital closures and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The people who decide to stay on the frontier tend to be incredibly resourceful. They are excellent problem solvers and creative thinkers who aren’t shaken by much — essential qualities for rural healthcare.

Tightknit Communities Create a Unique Connection in Hospital Settings

Rural healthcare workers tend to know their patients not only as patients, as might usually happen in more urban areas but as neighbors — sometimes, even as friends and family. The lab tech isn’t just someone you meet at work; he’s your best friend from third grade. Likewise, your patients aren’t just “the hip repair in room 314” or even “Mr. Jones” — that’s Dave, your cousin.

There’s an intimacy in a small town that cannot be duplicated in an urban center. On the frontier, the people you work with are the people you live with.

Every patient doesn’t just have a name — they have a story. You don’t just know their patient profile; you know their families, where they went to school… You might even know how they take their coffee.

Fighting for Access to Resources

Rural healthcare professionals are aware of the challenges — and benefits — in the care they provide. But, despite ample evidence and rationale to provide better care and allocate more resources to rural areas, many pathways, processes, and access to funding are still difficult for many rural areas in America. As a result, even though 19.3% percent of the US population lives in what is considered a rural area, access to equivalent healthcare may remain elusive for them.

For medical professionals within the system, the fight for resources can feel like an uphill battle. Beyond their daily jobs, they are tasked with solving resource problems with many different people, offices, and bureaucracies.

On the Frontier: With Better Access to Quality Healthcare

Rural hospital facilities’ existence is dependent on champions. A person — or people — who will fight for their hospital, their peers, their patients, and their community. Champions who know the challenges and generate excitement about the possibilities. Tireless against pushing back and tireless in pushing forward. To stop — and, hopefully, reverse — the increasing disparities that rural areas face, people involved in healthcare, including researchers, funders, and policymakers, must better appreciate the factors affecting the rural healthcare system. One step forward is to create sustainable standardization of processes and administrative support. By doing this, positive patient outcomes will increase, and rural healthcare facilities will benefit.

Cross SH, Califf RM, Warraich HJ. Rural-Urban Disparity in Mortality in the US From 1999 to 2019. JAMA. 2021;325(22):2312–2314. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.5334

What is the Acuity Index? The Quick and Clean Guide to the Patient Assessment Score for Interfacility Transfer

A patient assessment score helps health care teams allocate resources and determine the appropriate care a person should receive. Until now, there has been no standardized methodology to determine the vital, transfer-specific elements of a person’s condition as necessary to how they will be moved between facilities, using which modalities and resources.

Founded in Decades of Real-World Expertise

The Acuity Index was created by Martin Sellberg, M.D., FACEP, and contributed to by Richard Watson, M.D. It’s based on their combined decades of emergency medicine and medical transport experience in various emergency departments, from rural and frontier settings to major urban trauma centers.

Drs. Sellberg and Watson recognized a need to assess the unique variables considered during adult interfacility transfers. When a person is removed from the resource-rich environment of a hospital or similar setting, there must be a commonly understood measurement to determine their current and continued stability, the interventions and monitoring skills needed to maintain that stability, and their risk of deterioration once they leave the hospital and begin their journey to definitive care.

The Acuity Index helps answer questions like this: What do providers consider when determining the most appropriate mode of transport for a patient who needs a neurological intervention 90 miles away versus a stable orthopedic injured patient at the same facility when their receiving hospital is 200 miles away?

8 Questions. 3 Key Areas. Invaluable Information.

The Acuity Index asks healthcare professionals to answer eight questions. The questions consider clinical workload, risk, a prognostic perspective of the patient, and in general, the level of care needed based on the severity of illness, all critical components of moving the patient between controlled and uncontrolled environments.

These eight questions are broken into three parts that determine patient level of care, support, and risk of deterioration.

1. Level of care and monitoring the patient will receive at the destination facility

2. Physiological support or intervention needed to maintain patient stability

3. Risk of deterioration during transfer

The information gathered under these categories is weighted and assigns a numerical value to the person being assessed. The value reflects the patient’s illness level or severity to help determine the level of care needed in the transfer process, such as crew capability, recommended mode, and other factors — information that was previously not possible to standardize. This Acuity Score stratifies patients into groupings to aid quality departments and enhance reporting processes.

The Acuity Index Creates a Common Language for Interfacility Transfer Assessment

The Acuity Index creates a common language for transfer assessment. Instead of increasing the saturation of assessment scores, however, the Acuity Index fills a critical need: The value of the Acuity Index is specific to patient movement, an assessment that previously did not exist.

The decisions made regarding destination and timing, and mode and level of care, in patient movement have far-reaching effects on financial and clinical outcomes. Healthcare cannot afford transport decision-making based on random or incomplete information, and the strategy, “this is the way we’ve always done it,” makes little business sense. Instead, interfacility transport should be guided by an organized assessment and decision process and data that can be shared through the system to assist in further dialogue to identify and solve local challenges collaboratively. The Acuity Index explicitly scores a person’s condition as appropriate for critical transport points between the sender, EMS, and the receiver. It has a specific use and value applied directly to patient movement.

The Acuity Index also creates significant value in enabling patient stratification for transfer reporting and quality metrics. The Acuity Score enables quality managers to evaluate resource utilization across patient types, DRGs, and Acuity Scores. Furthermore, the Acuity Score can be used for reimbursement justification and Time Critical Diagnosis assessment and reporting.

Please contact us here to learn more about the Acuity Index and Mission Control.

Mission Control Feature Alert: New Mission Creation Interface

Mission Control is excited to announce a new interface for mission creation that will further simplify the way you create transfers in Mission Control. The new look provides:

Improved design and fewer overall clicks.
A progress bar to show how far along the process you are.

Map view for selecting your preferred destination options or a picklist option.

If assistance is needed in locating a destination, there is a new method for providing additional information.
Destination Selection.gif

You also have the ability to edit data from the destination selection screen without restarting the workflow.

A Mission Summary screen that allows for a selection of a “preferred mode” selection to indicate a desired mode of transport. Users can review all Mission information from this summary prior to submission.

Screen Shot 2021-06-10 at 4.51.09 PM.png

These changes were made improve the overall workflow and save you — and the patients you help care for — valuable time. We hope these changes make using Mission Control more efficient and user-friendly.

The new designs will be “live” on starting Tuesday 6/15. We’ve updated our training materials for you to familiarize yourself with the new Mission Interface prior to deployment on the 15th.

Training materials on the new designs are available under “Courses” from the gear icon inside Mission Control. They can also be accessed directly by this link.

We have a number of new features and functionality in the works that we are excited to share in the weeks ahead. Please let us know if there are items that improve the utility of Mission Control for you and your patients.

Questions or Comments? Contact Us.

May is Stroke Awareness Month: A Case Study Demonstrates How a Patient Movement Resource Makes the Difference in Time Critical Stroke Cases

*disclaimer: Mission Control’s blog is not intended to provide medical advice. Please speak with a doctor or other healthcare professional before beginning, changing, or otherwise altering your healthcare plan.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., killing almost 130,000 Americans every year. It’s also a leading cause of severe disability. The National Stroke Association, and others in the healthcare field, devote the month of May to learn how to prevent strokes, increase the awareness of stroke symptoms, and how and when to seek care. May was formally deemed Stroke Awareness Month in 1989 by President George H.W. Bush.

One reason stroke can be disabling — and deadly — is because any time lost during a stroke means valuable care time is lost for the patient: Time is brain. The faster the healthcare team can diagnose the patient and get them to the right facility and with the right specialists, the better their chance at a positive outcome may be. Our case study, based on a fictional example, demonstrates how using Mission Control as a patient movement resource can make a critical difference when a patient with stroke enters your facility.

Case Study: Patient Movement Resource Makes the Difference in Time-Critical Stroke Cases

The Setting

It is a busy night in the 5-bed Emergency Department (ED). The ED Providers on hand are a Registered Nurse (RN) and an Advanced Practiced Registered Nurse (APRN), managing the workload like a well-oiled machine.

The night seems normal. A little past midnight a patient is discharged back to their nursing home. The other patients are stable.

The phone rings.

The Situation

Emergency Services (EMS) is on the line with a possible stroke patient on their way with an ETA of 15 minutes.

Patient Stats 58-year-old male Vitals 190/100 Heart rate 1150-130 BPM Positive stroke score*, including slurred speech and right-sided arm drift Blood sugar 130 Weight 280 lbs. *The Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale evaluates symptoms of facial droop, arm drift, and abnormal speech. If one of those signs is abnormal, there is over a 70% chance the patient suffers from a stroke.

Patient History

EMS informs you that the patient is being treated for a thyroid disorder, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. He smokes 2 packs per day of cigarettes and is a truck driver. Home medications include thyroxine, atenolol, and statin (for low thyroid, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol).

What We Know

Patient Profile:This patient is at elevated risk for a stroke due to past medical history, being a cigarette smoker, overweight, sedentary lifestyle, and the findings of his 12-lead ECG shows the patient has intermittent atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular response (heart in an abnormal rhythm and accelerated rate).

Next Steps

The APRN is assessing the patient. While you are drawing blood for the lab work-up, the CT technician calls and is ready for the patient. You notice other patients’ call lights on and hear on the scanner there is a two-vehicle motor vehicle accident (MVA) on Highway 36.

Priority-setting and critical thinking will be a must to get through the next several hours.

Possible Outcome — Without Mission Control

A few years ago, this situation would have felt chaotic. Stroke patients require time-intensive testing and monitoring that can keep a nurse and provider at the bedside for extended periods of time. The stroke patient’s speech is slowed, slurred, and at times garbled, so additional time is required to perform an appropriate assessment while providing compassionate care during a time-sensitive diagnosis. At the same time, we know “time is brain”, and getting the patient to and from the CT, labs drawn, NIHSS completed, takes time; all with the uncertainty of whether the patient’s condition will remain as is or decline.

Additionally, there are the needs of other patients in the ED. The nurse would be on the phone with the hospital’s transfer center to start the process of getting a neurologist to call the APRN. Furthermore, once an accepting physician was confirmed, there were more orders to give the patient a lytic (clot-dissolving) and blood pressure IV medication. The nurse is preparing the dosing of the lytic while on the phone with dispatch requesting air transport.

Multi-tasking is key, but distractions during lytic preparation is an unsafe practice.

Outcome — With Mission Control

Using Mission Control, the patient has multiple communication specialists working on his behalf, assisting with contacting and confirming the requested receiving hospital and securing appropriate transport for the patient while the nurse and APRN can for care him and the other patients. Knowing the MVA patients could arrive at any time, the care team needs to stay focused on patient care and getting patients transferred out of the ED appropriately. Mission Control staff will comment in the chatbox or call with any updates.

The patient NIHSS is 8 (stroke scale assessment) and the radiologist calls to tell the APRN the CT is clear. You know intravenous alteplase (the clot-dissolving medication) will be your next order from the APRN. The inclusion/exclusion checklist was completed, and you continue to work through the priorities of patient care in the ED. Mission Control connects the APRN and a potential receiving neurologist to discuss transferring the patient for advanced neurological services that are not provided at their hospital.

The patient was accepted by the neurologist, and it was decided by the providers to fly the patient, if possible, as they will assess him for a large vessel occlusion (the type of stroke present in this patient).

Mission Control was there to assist with getting transport arranged for this patient. As the flight crew is in the air, they started administering the clot-busting medication alteplase. We know that time is brain and getting this patient back to his family starts here with us.

Since the local EMS is out on the MVA, Mission Control arranged for another EMS agency to assist in picking up the crew at the airport. Finishing up on the transfer paperwork, the helicopter crew arrives and takes over care of the patient. Just in time, as local EMS calls to give report on the two code red patients they are bringing to the ER.

Thankfully, this hospital can handle these situations successfully thanks to the training and skill of the nursing staff and support from Mission Control.

Mission Control is a valuable resource. It assists in getting the appropriate resources for patients while allowing the staff to utilize their skills and training to stay focused on the patients.

In cases of stroke, time is brain. Mission Control helps ensure healthcare providers, EMS, and patients get access to the resources they need, when they need — when every second matters.

To learn more about Mission Control, click here.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

MAY is Stroke Month

May is National Stroke Awareness Month: Learn the Signs

May is National Stroke Awareness Month

Preventing Another Stroke

EMS Week 2021: We Recognize EMS Professionals

We’ve all heard the sirens blare through our neighborhoods, cities, and while we’re driving to work or school. It’s the universal sound that tells us someone needs medical attention. While we peer outside our window or pull over to the side to let an emergency vehicle pass, we hold a moment of silence in our minds, hoping no one is seriously sick or injured.

This is EMS: Caring for Our Communities

The people on the frontlines of emergency services are EMS professionals, and from May 16-21, 2021, we pay particular honor to them. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), in partnership with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), has declared the theme for EMS Week 2021 as This is EMS: Caring for Our Communities.

During EMS week, communities and individuals are asked to honor EMS professionals for their dedication and service to their communities which, like so many healthcare professionals, has been tested as never before during COVID-19. Our local EMS are the lifeline to get sick and injured patients to a hospital or higher level of care. Many EMS personnel also have additional job duties, such as fighting and investigating fires, being on standby during sporting events, or being engaged in county emergency management exercises. During COVID-19, it’s become clearer than ever before how critical they are in our communities.

The Real-Life Impacts of a Vital Community Role

While many people work as EMS full-time, many regions in the United States rely on volunteers. Your EMS professional could be your local banker, grocer, mechanic — anyone in the community, though a common trait among EMS personnel is the strong purpose of serving their community.

In this true story, we recount the impact a rural EMT had on his community. “Dan’s” quick thinking and actions saved a school — and a community — from tragedy.

“It was a spring morning, and the K-12 school third block bell had just rung. As students settled into their seats, the fire alarm went off. As students exited their classrooms, there was Dan, a farm mechanic — and local EMT — standing at the front doors, instructing all of us to go out the South exits. Before we could ask questions, buses and cars began to line up and take us out of town. Dan had witnessed a pick-up truck hauling anhydrous ammonia, a common chemical used to fertilize the cornfields of this region, struck by another pick-up truck. If inhaled, the gas can cause chest pain, wheezing, and death in poorly ventilated areas. Due to the accident, the deadly gas was being released into the air just yards away from the school. His actions prevented what would have been a horrible tragedy.”

Dan’s actions are just one of the millions of times an EMT’s quick thinking and actions have led to positive outcomes for our communities.

Thank You, EMS Professionals

EMS provides essential support to our communities, and here at Mission Control, we want to share our appreciation and gratitude to those who continue to serve with their courage, knowledge, and passion. You can thank your local EMS personnel by sending them letters of gratitude, thank them personally when you see them in your community, and always safely pull your vehicle to the right side when they have their lights and sirens on.


May is Trauma Awareness Month

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, there is growing confidence we can return to normal activities like travel and vacations we enjoyed before 2020. With the excitement of hitting the open road, there is also reason to pause to ensure we play our part in keeping the roads safer for all this summer. As we venture back out into the world, we’re focusing this month’s theme on trauma in motor vehicle accidents (MVA) as a refresher for all of us to remember how to travel safely.

Stay Alert. Stay Alive.

The American Trauma Society (ATS) and The Society of Trauma Nurses (STI) have collaborated to bring trauma awareness to the public. May is Trauma Awareness Month, which brings an opportunity to share preventative measures of leading causes of MVAs. Each day at least 90 people die in motor vehicle accidents. The significant risk factors in causing fatal MVA accidents are:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving (texting, fiddling with a radio, etc.)
  • Driving under the influence
  • Not wearing seatbelts

How to Prevent Traumatic Motor Vehicle Accidents

As you travel with your family and friends this summer, these are some ways you can decrease your chance of being injured or killed in a motor vehicle-related accident:

  • Ensure the driver of the car is well-rested, without distractions, and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Everyone in the vehicle should be properly secured with a seat belt or age-appropriate car seat
  • Ensure the driver adheres to speed limits and adjusts their speed to weather and road conditions

What to Do if You Witness or You’re in a Motor Vehicle Accident

If you are in or witness an accident, please call 911 immediately. Minutes matter, and getting the patient into the healthcare system will help to decrease disability and mortality of trauma patients. Whether you are driving in rural or urban areas, many EMS and hospital emergency rooms have trauma protocols in place to give you the best care available. The protocols assist with getting the injured patients stabilized and to the right level of care the first time.

Every minute counts. Mission Control is here to assist the emergency rooms in locating the appropriate resources, available specialists, EMS agencies, and any other necessary means required to transfer the patient so that the healthcare team can focus on caring for the needs of the patient.

Obviously, not all traumas occur on the roads. Read more by clicking the link below for other resources provided by the ATS and STI. Want to learn more about trauma reporting and Mission Control? Contact us to request a demo.

From everyone at Mission Control, we wish you a fun — and SAFE — summer!

Sources and Resources

Check out the ATV Safety Institute’s Readiness Checklist to see if your child is ready to drive an ATV.

Fascinating facts about workplace injuries here

Dog bites pose a serious health risk, with more than 4.5 million people being bitten by dogs each year in the U.S. At least half of those bitten are children. Here are resources on ways to prevent a dog bite:

Whether it’s a trip to the beach or a dip in the community or backyard pool, these swimming safety tips can help you have fun in the sun.

American Trauma Society

Centers of Disease Control and Prevention

Kansas Department of Health and Environment

COVID-19 in Kansas: A Year in Review

It’s been over a year since we first heard of COVID-19 and it began to impact not only our healthcare system but the lives of every person on the planet. At Mission Control, we’re looking back on the last year with empathy for those who have suffered, gratitude for those who have served as healthcare heroes and essential workers, and hope for a healthy future — for all of us.

At Mission Control, our goal throughout COVID-19 — and beyond — is to empower healthcare professionals and facilities with efficient, sustainable, and safe methods of patient movement. Our infographic demonstrates some of the ways in which Mission Control has helped hospitals in Kansas with COVID-19 during the past year.

Nurse’s Week 2021: We Celebrate and Honor Nurses

Nurses are a vital part of our care community and, at Mission Control, we value and appreciate their impact every day. From Thursday, May 6, through Wednesday, May 12, 2021, our country takes a dedicated week of the year to pay them particular honor for Nurse’s Week, commencing with Florence Nightingale’s birthday on May 12.

The Backbone of Our Care Communities

Nurses have always worked tirelessly to provide care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clearer than ever the depth of sacrifices nurses make for their patients on the frontlines of healthcare. Nurses not only provide necessary care, but they also have significant impacts on patients’ overall well-being, experiences, and outcomes. Nurse’s Week offers an opportunity for us to honor nurses for the work they do.  

You can honor the nurses in your life, whether they are family, friends, or the nurses who have cared for you, by thanking them with a note, a video, or a thoughtful gift sent to their workplace that they can share with their coworkers.  

From everyone at Mission Control, we send immense gratitude to the incredible nurses in our communities.  

Celebrating Nurses’ Week

Study: 186% Pandemic Spike in Nurse Demand Worsens Turnover and Stress

Mission Control Featured in BOSS Magazine

Mission Control was honored to be featured in BOSS magazine. Please read the article to learn more about the founders of Mission Control, why they’re passionate about patient movement, and how they are transforming emergency medical transportation.

Mission Control: How a Patient Movement Resource Helped Healthcare Facilities During Covid-19

In 2020, we witnessed the Covid-19 pandemic push the United States’ healthcare system to its limit — and beyond. Along with the dedication, expertise, and commendable perseverance of our healthcare professionals, it became clear that a unified management method of coordination, visibility, and insight into the available resources was necessary to take on the health crisis at hand.

A Centralized Resource to Assist Healthcare Professionals

In Kansas, staffed bed availability reached a critical level (especially COVID-19 beds), as it did in many places around the country —and the world. The system as a whole was strained beyond capacity. Visibility into the existing systems and processes throughout the state was insufficient.

Time was critical. Not only was a centralized system necessary, but the visibility, resources, and efficiency it would provide were vital to support the staff working on the frontlines.

Allocating and Managing the Resources Available

Mission Control is a software program that benchmarks a patient’s acuity and streamlines the care team’s decisions on destination and transport methodology. Based on proven success with the Care Collaborative under the University of Kansas Health System, Mission Control links sending facilities, receiving facilities, and local and regional emergency services providers to coordinate and organize the movement of patients through a healthcare system.

During the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mission Control demonstrated early indications of “hot spots” by identifying surges of transfers in other parts of the system — surges that, if sustained, had the potential to overwhelm the receiving facilities.

Receiving hospitals became saturated caring for patients during this surge, resulting in difficulty for sending hospitals in placement of the patients they needed to transfer. Seeing this issue as it evolved and in real-time, Mission Control added facility-capacity tracking and bed-sourcing services to its existing platform. The network and capabilities were expanded to include additional regional facilities, creating a better and broader picture of receiving resources and capacity. At the peak of the surge, Mission Control assisted in the movement of patients to and from Kansas resources and facilities in five neighboring states. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment requested Mission Control be made available to every hospital in the state.

One Year Later

Under the contract with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Mission Control has been working with the nurses, physicians, and other vital medical staff as a support tool and resource for 100 days as of February 26, 2021, and with the state since mid-2019. Mission Control’s support will continue throughout and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic with access to services, support, and data to enable patients’ efficient and sustainable movement throughout the healthcare system.

Together, we are all committed to the sustainability of rural healthcare, EMS services, and patient transfers’ vital role in all Kansans’ daily lives. We are all indebted to the partners and co-laborers across the healthcare system that have dedicated themselves to patients’ care before, during, and after the surge of Covid-19.

We’re not out of the woods yet. But thanks to our dedicated healthcare professionals at all levels of the healthcare system, we’re making progress.

Mission Control is honored to serve the healthcare system of Kansas and beyond by continuing to aid in the efficient interfacility movement of all patients.

Welcome to the Mission Control Blog

From the latest news and feature updates at Mission Control to trending news in healthcare, patient movement, emergency medicine, and more, follow our blog.

 You’ll be the first to learn what’s new at Mission Control, what our healthcare professionals think about important issues impacting the healthcare industry, and discover tools and ideas intended to empower you as a healthcare provider.

To learn more about our features, click here.

If you have questions about Mission Control, you can contact us here.

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Quotation Mark

I have really enjoyed working with the knowledgeable and innovative staff within Mission Control! They have observed and created a dashboard that significantly meets our data abstraction needs. This information is in real time and we can access the data points we need very quickly. Mission Control has saved me hours of manual abstraction and I can now present this information to our physicians and leadership through creative charts and graphs. At Newman Regional Health, we are very excited to integrate Mission Control into our daily workflow and look forward to the valuable information the dashboard can provide!

Aubrey Arnold MS, BSN/RN

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Quotation Mark

We started using Mission Control a few months ago because we were struggling with finding patient placement and transportation. Mission Control helped with that significantly. MC is very user friendly! All staff has been so kind and helpful! They are always prompt with assisting us and do a great job in keeping us up to date and informed on any progress they’re making whether that be with a phone call or a message through mission control. They continue to work until transport has been found! We would be lost without them!

DJ Craighead, RN

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About Us
About Us

The Creation of Motient: Two Doctors See Possibilities in Challenges

After experiencing the hurdles of patient movement first-hand, two doctors decided to transform them.

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Find out how Motient can benefit your team today.

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