The study was conducted with 115 helicopter air ambulance (HAA) operations in 2018 in Italy. Additionally, using geographic information systems and estimated ambulance data, the study compared air and ground emergency medical services.
HAA operations varied in time throughout the study, mainly between 45 minutes and two hours. The HAA operations observed in the study were used between 25 and 40 kilometers. Compared to ground ambulances, the mission time overall did not vary significantly.
The study concludes that helicopters are not always the fastest transport for patients as journey time is very variable. The authors of the study propose not to use helicopter for transports less than 50 kilometers long.