ER24’s state-of-the-art Emergency Contact Centre uses sophisticated dispatching software, mapping technology and medical databases to help you in a crisis.

Shakira Cassim, General Manager: ER24 Contact Centres, answers our questions.

Shakira Cassim, Manager: ER24 Contact Centres.

Who makes up the Contact Centre team?

We have a fully equipped Contact Centre and our highly skilled team is available 24/7/365. It includes:

  • Emergency resource officers (EROs)
  • Registered nurses
  • Clinical co-ordinators
  • Support resource officers (SROs)
  • Global assist agents
  • Team leaders
  • Trainers
  • Quality assurers
  • Inter-facility transfer agents.

These specialists are all strategically placed to assist with any medical emergency request.  

What is the main priority?

There are two main elements to the ER24 Contact Centre – receiving calls and capturing information. ER4’s cutting-edge telephony and computer-aided dispatch (CAD)  systems allow EROs to capture the details and data they need to co-ordinate the best possible care for you. ER24 staff are trained to run and manage the CAD systems, and algorithms guide them in logging the call accurately and efficiently. This enables a quicker and effective response on the ground.

How do the algorithms work?

Based on the information we receive from the caller, the algorithm determines what level of care we need to dispatch:

  • Basic life support (can administer CPR and basic medical assistance)
  • Intermediate life support (can put up an IV)
  • Advanced life support (can intubate and administer schedule 4 drugs).

The algorithm is designed to prompt the agent to ask appropriate questions. For example, if the patient is suffering a heart attack, the agent will be prompted to ask triage questions adapted to the South African context.

Our highly qualified paramedic teams are dispatched through ER24’s modern and efficient Contact Centre.

What are medical databases used for?

Where possible, the Contact Centre attempts to assist callers/patients before emergency medical assistance crews arrive on scene. We use medical databases to support callers with medical information, pre-arrival instructions, and to enable non-clinical team members to offer support – particularly at a time when clinical resources are scarce. 

Tell us how mapping technology ensures best outcomes? 

A key objective in managing an emergency is to locate the incident and/or patient as efficiently and effectively as possible. Mapping technology has made strides in assisting us to locate callers. Using various location services  allows lifesaving interventions to arrive quicker, and tracks our personnel to ensure their safety. 

How did the ER24 Contact Centre assist during the COVID-19 pandemic?

With hospitals under huge pressure due to increased admissions, it was evident that the link between the pre-hospital ER24 Contact Centre and in-hospital environment was critical. The Contact Centre supported national efforts to find available beds for patients in need. The process provided access to Mediclinic facilities needing a bed for a patient they could not accommodate. The Contact Centre also supported the facility in coordinating patient transfer from one facility to another in line with current protocols.

What’s next?

As a leader in emergency medical assistance, ER24 is constantly evaluating and upgrading the technology we use to provide real help real fast. We’re currently developing ER24 Next Gen Core, a brand-new platform. This will include functionality across most of the business, which can be leveraged to provide other benefits as well. 

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