London, ON, Canada/Danville, PA, USA – When emergency care is needed, every minute counts, and that means having air medical services at the ready. Geisinger Life Flight is now able to launch their helicopters back into service faster with digital signatures maintenance software. 

Following state and federal regulatory approval, Life Flight is now utilizing WinAir Version 7, which features digital signature functionality. Using digital signatures provides Life Flight mechanics and pilots the ability to electronically sign-off on maintenance tasks and job completion.

“Investing in and using innovative technology is part of the natural evolution of who we are as an organization,” said Jeff Gazey, Geisinger Life Flight director of aviation maintenance. “The journey to having digital signatures took more than a year and included updating policies and procedures, working closely with IT staff and securing government regulatory approvals. We worked step-by-step with WinAir as the product was developed and are thrilled to have it in place and up and running.”

Previously, maintenance work was logged on digital task cards, but those task cards needed to be printed out and signed, and then uploaded back into a digital format. With digital signatures, maintenance work signoffs are all done electronically, saving time, paper and money.

“Digital signatures make our maintenance processes more efficient and get our aircraft back into service faster so we’re ready to care for people in need,” said Jerry Splitt, Geisinger Life Flight program director. “Implementing digital signatures will save more than 2,200 hours of labor and nearly $10,000 in labor costs and office supplies annually. We can take these savings and reinvest them into our program to continue providing exceptional care to our patients in central and northeastern Pennsylvania.”

Life Flight has utilized WinAir software since 2012 and worked closely with the organization to upgrade to WinAir Version 7. This new version includes digital signatures that create a unique digital record in WinAir, which securely associates the approval with the user. When maintenance work is completed, mechanics must review the work and accredit it by adding their signatures to the task card, followed by an assessment and approval by an inspector. This process safeguards against the entry of inaccurate data and increases safety, as any follow-up modifications made to the task or check will invalidate the authentication and require re-authentication.

“Digital signatures will assist Geisinger’s maintenance team tremendously by accelerating and streamlining maintenance work steps, while simultaneously ensuring data integrity,” said Kyle Vergeer, WinAir managing director. “We are thrilled that Geisinger has decided to use this feature for their fleet maintenance program and are pleased to learn that the Department of Health and the FAA have granted them approval. We foresee that digital signatures will be a significant benefit to the entire operation at Geisinger Life Flight.”

Life Flight maintenance operations occur at the program’s hangar in Danville on the Geisinger Medical Center campus. This month, Life Flight 1 relocated from that hangar to a new base at Penn Valley Airport near Selinsgrove. The relocation allowed for more space at the GMC hangar to accommodate the program’s maintenance needs. Life Flight’s other bases include University Park Airport near State College, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport in Avoca, Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Minersville, and Jake Arner Airport in Lehighton.

Life Flight is the second largest air medical transportation program in Pennsylvania, featuring nine air ambulances and a critical care ground transport unit. The program operates six bases around-the-clock throughout central and northeastern Pennsylvania and employs a staff of approximately 130. Life Flight is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS).