ER24 is revolutionising the way they deliver care

Posted on 22 August 2019

Through the introduction of innovative technology, ER24 will now be able to locate patients in informal areas or those where street addresses may not give an exact location.

You are at a festival and your friend falls ill. How do you explain to the medics where you are? Three words! rally.latches.steams, for example, will take you to a precise spot in at the Johannesburg Botanical gardens in Emmarentia. By giving these three words, medics are now able to pinpoint patients within a 3m x 3m area.

“By making the best use of technology, the ER24 Contact Centre is able to quickly locate the what3words address and dispatch help to the precise location,” explains Ben Johnson, ER24’s CEO. He continues, “Emergencies can happen anywhere, from a road accident in the middle of rural Limpopo to an incident outside one of the gates at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. In an emergency situation, identifying precisely where help is needed is critical – and this can be near impossible if you are in an area with no address or if that address isn’t good enough to describe exactly where you are. If you didn’t know where you were you might turn to your phone to try and locate yourself via a pin on a map – but imagine trying to describe your pin to someone over an emergency 084 124 call.”

ER24 is constantly striving to deliver the best possible care, and many times innovation is a key solution for delivering that care. After introducing a prompt message service for clients that have hearing impediments, the introduction of what3words is simply another out of the box solution.

What3words is the easiest way to fix a location. Every 3m square in the world has a unique what3words address. Now every precise location – the specific entrance of a shopping mall, a remote hiking trail, or even the front entrance of your home – has a simple and accurate address made of just three words. In addition, what3words is completely free to use and available to download on both iOS and Android. It works offline – ideal for areas with unreliable data connection. By sharing the location with the ER24 Contact Centre, the response can be co-ordinated to the exact location help is needed.

According to Johnson, “In a medical emergency, ambulance response times are critical to saving lives. But too often, emergency services are forced to waste precious time and resources trying to locate the person in need of help. At best, this can be frustrating, and at worst waste crucial minutes that are the difference between life and death.” But he asserts that this does not have to be the case. With innovation such as this, a client virtually has a pin in their pocket.

It is the people on the ground that are welcoming this app. “Some of the informal settlements we get called out do not have street names. Usually, someone will meet us at a particular landmark and show us how to get from there. But, having an application that will be able to take us to the exact spot, will reduce the need to drive up and down a road in search of the scene. It will make a change to our response times and make our jobs a little easier too,” said Jaco Kaalsen, of ER24 Bloemfontein.

By using what3words, everyone has a reliable and simple way to talk about location, which has broader implications on not only emergency services, but day-to-day life. It makes it easier to meet up with friends in a crowded place, guide guests to a parking lot, receive deliveries without the need to provide extra directions and explore rural areas without an address.

What3words began operations in South Africa in 2017, and is now accepted across a number of platforms including the iStore, and is also used by the Automobile Association of South Africa to help locate its members needing roadside assistance.

Ben Johnson, ER24’s CEO concludes, “As the premier private emergency medical care provider in South Africa, we value technology and innovation and we will continue to strive to stay ahead of the curve. We are pleased to be the first private emergency medical service in South Africa to partner with what3words.”

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Published in Business