BroadSoft, a unified communication software as a service (UCaaS) provider, and Novum Networks, have deployed a solution which overcomes the complexities of rostering emergency call-outs for volunteer ambulance workers in one of Australia's largest ambulance service providers.
Because of the vast geographic distances and dispersed population densities in rural and regional areas in Australia, many ambulance services utilise paid medical staff and paramedics, but also rely on a large part of their workforce that is made up of volunteers who donate their time when an emergency call-out is required.
This ‘blended’ workforce of full time and volunteer staff has always made short-notice rostering for emergency call outs a very complex task for EMS providers. The Novum and BroadSoft deployment also had to overcome an 8-day workweek roster, which had proved challenging for many communications technology solutions, typically designed to accommodate a 7-day workweek by default.
Utilising BroadSoft's BroadWorks platform and Novum Networks' Unified Platform, Novum Networks designed an automated call out system called Emergency Call Assist that adapted to the client's 8-day roster and automated the call notification process for each ambulance sub-station call out.
In many EMS environments, each sub-station or branch has different call flow requirements and roster structures. With Novum's Emergency Call Assist, each sub-station or branch manager is now able to manage his or her own call flow and roster system from a web browser or tablet.
This cloud PBX and cloud-based system is designed to meet the exacting needs of an emergency services environment, and provides carrier-class availability and full geographic redundancy to avoid system interruption in the case of significant failure in any part of the network.
The system immediately recognizes shift changes based on programmed rules for paramedic and volunteer rosters, and utilises the Emergency Call Platform routing engine to initiate calls based on a staff member's preferred contact number (either land line or mobile). If a user does not take a call, the system will automatically continue to call other staff members in the predetermined roster order.
Phones that are turned off, or diverted to voicemail, will not stop the call routine from ringing other users. The call system will continue dial outs until a staff member confirms availability and thereby finalises the ambulance staffing assignments.
Kelvin Beadle, vice president for Asia Pacific, BroadSoft, said: "This innovative deployment of BroadWorks and Novum's Emergency Call Assist platform will have real tangible benefits and help speed emergency services delivery. We also see dramatic scope for similar deployments to help other emergency services organisations with similar workforce models -- like country and rural fire authorities and state emergency services."
Nigel Keswick, chief operating officer, Novum Networks, added: "Designing and proving this rostering system with one of the largest ambulance service providers in the country has allowed us to showcase what is possible with innovative system design and IP and cloud-based hosted communications in an emergency services environment.
“Knowing that our work will result in real-world benefits to the community in faster ambulance response times and a more efficient workforce management system for EMS providers has made this one of our most rewarding deployments in Australia."