Ambulance response time in Odisha reduced from 30 to 20 minutes with interventions of 5T

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | February 19, 2024 IST

Ambulance response time in Odisha reduced from 30 to 20 minutes with interventions of 5T

Bhubaneswar, Feb 19: The 108 Emergency Medical Ambulance Service has been a lifeline for the people of Odisha. 

It was launched by the Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Pattnaik in 2013 towards improving emergency healthcare services for the 4.5 crore people of the State.

In the year 2019, the 108 Emergency Medical Ambulance Service was brought under the visionary 5T framework  with a challenge to improve the efficiency of fleet and bring down the response time from 30 minutes to 20 minutes. In the following years, several measures were adopted to meet the challenge by upgrading the fleet and improving its performance.

Between October 2019 and March 2020, all 420 existing ambulances in the 108 fleet were replaced with new ambulances. Replacement of old ambulances were undertaken to reduce the travel time and vehicle breakdown, as both had negative impact on the response time and capacity of ambulance to attend cases.

Subsequently in January 2021, 84 new Ambulances were added to the existing fleet of Ambulances. These Ambulances were provided out of State budget to meet the increase in demand for Inter Facility Transfers, to reduce cancellation of service requests for ambulances, and to bring parity in area of coverage of ambulances across districts.

In 2020-21, when the COVID Pandemic was sweeping the nation, there was a requirement for more Advance Life Support (ALS) ambulances to handle patients with serious respiratory ailments. Hence, 28 New ALS ambulances were added to the fleet in April 2021 for providing service to patients of serious respiratory ailment during the period. 

Subsequently, with a  view to strengthen the Ambulance fleet so as to meet any future eventuality, the State took a decision to upgrade 299 Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances to ALS and these were operationalized in May 2023,thereby providing each block in the State with its own ALS ambulance for advanced care during transportation of critical patients.

In 2023 an assessment was conducted with the objective of bringing down the response time still further and getting it reduced to 20 minutes. The objective assessment took into consideration technical parameters of daily distance covered by the ambulances, cancellation of calls due to unavailability of ambulance, distance covered by ambulances to cover long Inter Facility Transfer cases and average distance covered by ambulance to pick up patient in a district. Accordingly, in November 2023, the State inducted 236 new ambulances into the fleet, thereby further improving its performance and efficiency.

With this, presently the fleet size of ambulances under 108 service stands at 1366 which includes 411 ALS and 6 Boat Ambulances.

In addition to the above, care was also taken to manage the micro details of operation like tracking the maintenance and off-roading of vehicles with deployment of ambulance process by the Service Providing Agency. Call dispatchers were oriented to reduce the call handling time. Recalibration of call center process was done for reduction in call handling time among other measures.

All the above measures transformed the Emergency Medical Ambulance Service under 5T initiative and enabled us to achieve our target of improving fleet efficiency and reducing response time. At present 1366 ambulances under Emergency Medical Ambulance Service (EMAS) fleet are attending to about 1.3 lakh patients each month, with a response time of less than 20 minutes, which is lower than the national average and one of the lowest in the country.

Reduction of average off-road vehicles due to timely repair and maintenance of ambulances resulted in higher ambulance uptime / readiness to attend cases. 

Ambulance deployments across State were realigned in view of expansion in fleet and to attend cases in quickest time. The average distance travelled by ambulance to pick up the patient came down to 12 KM.

The Call Center processes were recalibrated to reduce the time to record the service request. This enabled the Average Call Handling Time (AHT) to reduce to 170 seconds. This resulted in faster dispatch of ambulances.

Consequently the most visible service parameter of response time came down from 30 minutes to 19.56 minutes, said Health & Family Welfare Department sources.

 

 

 

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