Response time is a very important factor in determining the quality of prehospital EMS. Our objective was to model the response by Israeli ambulances and to offer model-derived strategies for improved deployment of ambulances to reduce response time. Using a geographic information system (GIS), a retrospective review of computerized ambulance call and dispatch logs was performed in two different regional districts, one large and urban and the other rural. All calls that were pinpointed geographically by the GIS were included, and their data were stratified by weekday and by daily shifts. Geographic areas (polygons) of, at most, 8 minutes response time were simulated for each of these subgroups to maximize the timely response of calls. Before using the GIS model, mean response times in the Carmel and Lachish districts were 12.3 and 9.2 minutes, respectively, with 34% and 62% of calls responded within 8 minutes. When ambulances were positioned within the modeled polygons, more than 94% of calls met the 8-minute criterion. The GIS simulation model presented in this study suggests that EMS could be more effective it a dynamic load-responsive ambulance deployment is adopted, potentially resulting in increased survival and cost-effectiveness.
- Emergency medical service
- Geographic information system
- Response time