Rural Patient Transport and Transfer: Findings from A Realist Review

The Applied Policy Research Unit is pleased to announce the release of their fourth realist review, “Rural Patient Transport and Transfer: Findings from A Realist Review”. The report, commissioned by the Rural and Remote Division of Family Practice, addresses the question: “What are the best practice models for transferring medically complex rural patients to secondary/tertiary care?” by summarizing evidence from a comprehensive review of academic and grey literature on emergency transport systems across Canada and comparable international jurisdictions.


Findings are presented by key themes including evidence regarding:

  • Timing to secondary referral or tertiary care;
  • Equipment and technology;
  • Health Human Resources
  • Dispatch and Communication
  • Governance


Recommendations align with a number of provincial priorities including the need for:

  • patient- and community-centred approaches to rural transport and transfer
  • improved communication at all system levels
  • interprofessional teamwork
  • (rural) generalism to support and sustain crucial services in smaller communities
  • virtual care to link smaller sites with regional referral and tertiary centres for consultations
  • an integrated and iterative approach to quality improvement.


You can download the report from the APRU website . Please contact Jude Kornelsen ( for any further information.


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