MedLink is the service arm of MedAire — a revolutionary innovation back in the 1980s.

How did MedLink connect flight crews in the air with ground-based emergency physicians back in the day? I developed a way to use communication channels such as high frequency radio, satellite, and teletype transmissions on a global scale. No matter where in the world a plane was flying, they could radio in for assistance during a medical crises.

One of our MedLink operating centers. Photo credit: MedAire

For instance, we subscribed to the teletype messaging service Aeronautical Radio, Incorporated (ARINC, established in 1929) and its Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS, available in 1978). This allowed communication with an airline’s dispatch and cockpit when needed. The only other forms of communication in the 1980s were hospital systems that linked remote clinics to specialist consultations as well as some larger hospital systems providing base station support for the EMS community.

One of our MedAire offices. Photo credit: MedAire

My book covers these early innovations and shares the backstory of how we got started and where we are today.