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A New World of Constraints

Ethiopia offered a new challenge for our team. With new constraints and restrictions, we couldn’t just simply import a western EMS (Emergency Medical Services) system into Africa. Such challenges included:

Lack of unified signage

Along with limited street names, Ethiopia lacks a centralized mapping system, making it nearly impossible to describe the location of an emergency.

Unreliable Infrastructure

Power outages, road stoppages, street closures, and network outages often occur.

Lack of EMS experience

With no history of EMS services in Ethiopia, there aren’t many trained EMS professionals available. This means training from scratch.

Solving the problem

By merging both Systems Thinking and Design Thinking, we simplified and modified the emergency dispatching process in such a way that it can adapt itself to a fluctuating landscape

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Systems Thinking

A holistic approach to problem solving where we consider all elements involved in our system to be interconnected, with their interactions giving rise to the collective behavior of our system

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Design Thinking

An approach to problem solving that starts from considering our users and how to create a better experience for them

Our Solution

To meet the constraints of our environment, we had to come up with a way to utilize each components' strength and mitigate weaknesses. To this end, we designed our system with three core focuses.

Adaptability

In an environment with so many unknowns, only a very versatile system could thrive.

Simplicity

With many of the dispatchers and paramedics uncomfortable with computers, creating an easy and intuitive experience was critical.

Efficacy & Efficiency

Emergency Medical Services is a race against time. Operating with limited qualified staff meant we needed to do more with less.

For Users

At the press of a button, the user is connected to the Emergency Call Centre, while their exact position is seamlessly sent in the background. Instead of wasting time trying to explain their location, the user is immediately receiving medical help over the phone, and can rest assured that the ambulance will be able to find them.

Paramedics

All our ambulances are equipped with state-of-the-art tablets, in constant connection with the cloud, and thus the ECC. Our paramedics receive the exact location of the user, and are shown the fastest way to get to the user. Key information collected by the dispatcher is also being shared in real-time to our paramedics. This ensures our paramedics are fully prepared to help the user as soon as they arrive on-site.

Dispatchers

The dispatcher automatically receives the user’s location and can one-click dispatch an ambulance before they’ve even said hello! All while automatically passing on key details from the call in real-time to paramedics. This significantly decreases the amount of multitasking, allowing them to focus on what’s most important – helping the person in need.

Benefits over Conventional EMS

In creating this system, we realised we had not only created a system capable of thriving in a fluctuating environments such as third world countries, but had created one that was in many ways better than the conventional 9-1-1 systems.

Increased Accuracy

While traditional 911 services run into many difficulties when trying to locate mobile phone calls, our system thrives on it. We pinpoint the exact location of users, saving minutes when they matter most.

Advanced Fleet Management

Scalable by nature, our fleet management system allows for unlimited ambulances and paramedics, along with detailed logs and stats for every individual and team.

User-friendly

We designed everything to be easy and intuitive for users. We’ve gotten operators who’ve never used computers before, using it in minutes. Enough said.

Cloud-based means portable

This means, if power goes out, we can move our command centre as easily as picking up a laptop and going. We’ve run the dispatching command centre from the back of a van on a dirt road in Africa, using 1 cellphone. Trust me, you can go anywhere.

Big Data & Analytics

By tracking and storing all our data, we build a data treasure trove to be mined. Learning from that data, makes for a smarter system. From dispatching efficiency and ambulance response times, to tracking both individuals and teams, we look to optimize all parts of the system.

Unified system with relevant information

By connecting our system to internal patient management systems in hospitals, both operators and paramedics already have life-saving information specific to the caller at their fingertips.