The son of a Northwest Airlines pilot, Dolny assumed a similar career track and entered the Aviation curriculum at the University of North Dakota. However, during his undergraduate years, he realized he especially enjoyed assuming leadership roles in a variety of activities. Accordingly, he added Management and Aviation Administration to his studies as well as earning his commercial and instrument tickets. The day after graduating in 1994, he joined CAE SimuFlite in Dallas. There he advanced steadily until becoming vice president of Business Development and Sales. He moved to MedAire as COO in 2011 where he oversaw growth in the Americas, Brazil and China and was appointed to his current position in 2014.

1. How does MedAire’s safety solutions for business and commercial aviation and yacht owners divide among them?

Dolny: Our airline and maritime customers each represent about 25%, while business aviation contributes half. The Americas are our biggest market by far, followed by Europe, Asia and the Middle East. That said, we’re growing geographically, in services and in volume. When I joined, we were handling 50,000 cases a year. In 2016 year we handled 225,000 – more than 600 calls daily. To accommodate, we’ve added new capabilities and opened call centers in Beijing and Frankfurt in addition to Phoenix, and they’re staffed 24/7 by more than 50 emergency room doctors overall. The focus has changed, as well; we aren’t just handling in-flight medical emergencies. While we do see many business aviation calls for such incidents, we get more calls for pre-flight security assistance and from customers at destination with medical concerns.  

 

2. How do you handle security matters?

Dolny: We conduct aviation security assessments for clients around the globe in partnership with International SOS, of which we’re a subsidiary. MedAire has established aviation-specific security teams in Phoenix and Philadelphia. And through International SOS we have a global network of more than 200 regional and local security professionals that we utilize as needed. For the past decade, we’ve partnered with Control Risks, the leading global risk consultancy. MedAire relates risks specifically to aviation, focusing on airspace, the airport and risks to operators. We offer 24/7 access to aviation security experts, and provide security briefs and airspace assessments before customers travel. And should they find themselves in a critical medical or physical situation during the trip, we will get them back home by whatever means are appropriate.

 

3. What new services are available?

Dolny: We are evolving and expanding our services. For instance, we’ve moved our Phoenix MedLink call center into a brand-new ER with much enhanced equipment and a more prominent location. Also, we’re doing teleconsultations in 13 cities in three countries where that is allowed. With this capability, patients can have face-to-face time via phone or computer with a doctor who can then prescribe medications remotely. It’s wonderfully effective with mild cases when a physical exam is unnecessary. If they need to see a doctor or go to an ER, we’ll help with that, too. And we’re now providing emotional support and stress consultation services. Some customers were witnesses to the terrorist activities in Paris and Brussels and required it. We’ve added these services to help them after these extremely challenging events.

 

4. You’re not all talk; you sell equipment, as well.

Dolny: We have a variety of equipment for carriage aboard aircraft to help assess or stabilize a medical situation. This includes first aid and pediatric kits, AEDs and a multi-parameter medical monitor to be used by non-medically trained personnel to transmit ECGs among other items such as glucometry and blood pressure. We’re always modifying this equipment to keep up with what’s happening in the world. A key part of reducing risk is to ensure our customers have the right equipment with them. We have fulfillment centers all over the world, so aircraft can restock their kits before the next flight. We also offer a variety medical training programs for crews and conduct safety sessions in hangars, our offices, at FlightSafety International centers and online. We have new first responder training for executives to help them manage medical or security events while traveling, and we explain what to avoid so they don’t become emergencies later.

 

5. Are many calls critical in nature?

Dolby: Statistically, most are not at all sensational but rather involve things like fainting, vomiting or sinus type issues. Still, we do get serious emergencies. Not long ago, a commercial flight called about a passenger with severe eye distress. He hadn’t disclosed that he’d recently had surgery, and once in flight his eye began expanding by 25% and he was in danger of actually losing his sight. We advised that they land, and they did. That was an exceptional situation; however, cases of suspect heart attacks and strokes occur virtually every single day.  

 

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Editor’s Note: Joan Sullivan Garrett, the flight nurse who conceived and founded MedAire in 1985, will be presented with the 2017 NBAA Meritorious Service Award at this month’s Business Aviation Convention and Exposition for making “a lasting difference to all those who travel by air and sea.”