Case Study: Ambulance Dispatch

The organisation

This ambulance service covers the largest territory of any single ambulance service in the world. While the metropolitan area and large regional centres are serviced by a staff of paid paramedics country towns have a volunteer ambulance locations. There are over 160 of these spread across the State including rural and remote areas.



The problem

Ambulance locations had evolved their own systems of contacting volunteers for jobs over many years. Due to the highly variable nature of the multiple locations there was no one consistent approach. Ambulances were dispatched from a central operations centre who would look up instructions for each location. Variability and inconsistency resulted in delays while operators tried to understand the instructions, errors, and conflict between operators and ambulance crews.

An attempt to map and understand the multiple relationships looked like this:

The project

Improve response times and patient outcomes for country ambulance service.


Establish Baseline

  1. Collate data on each location
    1. System used
    2. Phone and radio capabilities
    3. No of active volunteers
    4. Capacity of local health/emergency services
    5. ARIA rating


  1. Review existing call cards
    1. Establish how location resource file inputs to Computer Aided Dispatch
    2. Review format
    3. Standardize format      
    4. Review content for accuracy
    5. Procedures to update


  1. Establish KPIs
    1. Activation time
    2. Station closures – reasons
    3. Job refusals – reasons
    4. Staff availability – obstacles


  1. Collect data
  2. Review results


  1. Standardized call cards
  2. Standard dispatch protocols
  3. Guidelines for which protocol is most effective given local resources and infrastructure
  4. Root cause analysis of station closures/job refusals
  5. Strategy to improve performance and minimize risk re closures and refusals.


Sample Product Documentation

  • Product Description
  • Work Package