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Data for ambulance dispatch

Read the report


Ambulances aim to get to emergency medical situations quickly to provide care and save lives. Complicated decisions need to be made rapidly about which ambulance should respond to each incident, under constantly changing conditions.

The  Data Awareness for Sending Help (DASH) project is a collaboration between the Policy Institute, the Department of Informatics at King’s, and the London Ambulance Service. The project has examined new types of data that could inform ambulance services’ computer-assisted dispatch systems and response times.

The final report of the DASH project recommends six new data initiatives for London Ambulance Service:

  • Encourage broader, pan-London connections around the integration of health and social care data, to improve evidence on what works. Patients deserve dispatch decisions, including conveyance as well as treatment decisions, which are evidence-based and safe.
  • Partner with Transport for London to allow ambulance services to navigate traffic more intelligently. Travellers benefit from near ‘real-time’ traffic data; why shouldn’t patients?
  • Engage with the London Air Quality Network to help predict demand for ambulance services for those with breathing problems. Air quality models can enable improved care for patients with asthma and COPD.
  • Use mobile network providers' data and insight to support service effectiveness. Aggregate mobile phone location data is used for marketing; why not support ambulances by tracking crowded areas and anticipating need?
  • Extend the use of video communications technology to improve triage and remote treatment where appropriate. Patients should be able to communicate with LAS by video as well as audio if useful.
  • Challenge researchers to propose specific ways to facilitate access to and uses of weather data. Can researchers go further to help LAS maintain service levels whatever the weather?