Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s paramedic service, has been presented with an award for its innovative use of technology to reach patients quickly.
It relies on a geographic information system (GIS) to instantly geolocate the ambulances and first responders nearest the scene of a medical emergency.
The award was presented by US-based Esri, one of the world’s largest providers of GIS technology, at the company’s annual users’ conference in San Diego. The company pointed to MDA among more than 100,000 organizations that use GIS systems.
MDA uses the GIS technology to underpin its homegrown dispatch system, consumer emergency app, and the first responder app used by around 40,000 EMTs and first responders through MDA and Hatzalah (Israel’s free, volunteer-based emergency medical services organization).
“The GIS technology touches virtually every aspect of our work,” said Ido Rosenblat, chief information officer for Magen David Adom, “and is a key reason we can reach the scene of a medical emergency faster than any other EMS organization in Israel.”
MDA reports that on average its ambulances and first responders get to medical emergencies first – before other emergency medical services – over 91% of the time. This statistic, noted in the organization’s time analysis conducted in early 2022, places MDA at the forefront of paramedic services.
“MDA’s goal is to have the best-trained and best-equipped EMTs and paramedics in the world and provide them with the best technology to reach the scene more quickly and better informed about the emergency,” Rosenblat said. “If you can do that, you’re going to have an impact on patient outcomes and save even more lives.”
The organization was founded in 1930 to save lives in Israel and has since grown to more than 30,000 medical professionals and volunteers, 1,300 ambulances, 600 medicycles, and two helicopters. Certified EMTs and paramedics answer MDA’s 101 national dispatch center within four seconds, offering medical advice as they dispatch help. In 2021, MDA responded to around 700,000 emergency calls and delivered 972 babies. MDA has also used the GIS technology to create dispatch services for other emergency organizations worldwide, including Israel’s Fire and Rescue Service, the Philippines Red Cross, and Hatzalah South Florida in the US.