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Grove and ER24 spearheading a new era for EMS

Optimised EMS ambulance schedules—a faster and smarter way to help

ER24 teamed up with Grove in 2017 to run a Schedule Optimisation pilot in three of their branches in the Western Cape region. Using Grove’s advanced predictive analytics solution the objective of this project was to ensure that ER24 deploy their ambulances at the best time and at the best place to ultimately provide help faster and smarter—a first for EMS internationally!

Although the project introduced a new and improved way of working, the overall ER24 business operations did not change. The results clearly showed an increase in branch performance, whilst maintaining the same amount of staff and shifts.

This year, after a successful pilot project, ER24 decided to roll out the new roster nationally over a two-year period. The first version of the revised rosters was implemented in Gauteng and the Western Cape and is now being tested in KwaZulu-Natal as well.

The successful implementation and adoption of such an initiative always require careful deployment and change management planning to ensure the buy-in of each and every team member involved. The Grove team worked relentlessly in providing tools and assistance to all regional and branch managers, for the introduction and implementation of the new ambulance rosters.

Currently, Grove is working with ER24 branch managers on gathering relevant feedback from each branch to optimise the rosters even further. “The data science work and clever algorithms are only effective if practically implemented so a critical part of the process is working alongside the ER24 operations teams in collecting ongoing operational feedback to fine tune our algorithms. Through this process, we also establish and implement new algorithm constraints that consider unique operational variables,” says Johann de Wet, general manager at Grove.

Grant Stewart, Western Cape branch manager at the North Metropole, says that however challenging the project was at the start, Grove was able to show the best times for ambulance shifts in his region. “We made roster adjustments—changing twelve-hour shifts to nine-hour shifts—resulting in my branch achieving around 70 extra billable calls per month.”

Also endorsing the success of the implementation to date is Dewet Jooste, branch manager at the Gauteng North branch. “We have been running this for the past couple of weeks, and have generated at least 2 additional calls per shift, calls that we would otherwise not have been able to service.”

About ER24

ER24 is the largest private emergency medical service (EMS) provider in South Africa. The EMS has been providing a range of quality emergency response and pre-hospital care services since 2000, and operate from 45 bases throughout South Africa.

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