Magen David Adom’s groundbreaking technology, which powers the emergency dispatching systems in Israel for medical emergencies and the National Fire Rescue Service as well as for the EMS system in the Philippines, is now being used in the United States.

The computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system developed by MDA—Israel’s national paramedic and Red Cross service—uses artificial intelligence (AI) to instantly locate and dispatch the nearest first responders and ambulances to a medical emergency.

Hatzalah South Florida, an all-volunteer EMS organization serving Miami-Dade and Broward counties, announced that such technology is now powering its new dispatch system. It marks the first time MDA’s dispatch technology has been adopted by an EMS organization in the United States.

In a ceremony on Dec. 14 attended by several hundred people in Aventura, Fla., the two organizations signed an agreement to continue sharing knowledge and training, making years of cooperation official.

Hatzalah South Florida is one of more than 50 independent hatzalah (Hebrew for “rescue”) volunteer ambulance services that serve Jewish communities in the United States, Israel and around the world.

While Hatzalah South Florida will use technology already developed by MDA, the system was customized to meet specific needs. It was designed to be cloud-based, as opposed to the mainframe system MDA uses in its own National Operations Center, so Hatzalah South Florida can move its dispatching operations from location to location when necessary, an important consideration for the rapidly growing organization.

Baruch Sandhaus, Hatzalah South Florida executive director and an EMT, and Ido Rosenblat, Magen David Adom chief information officer and a Medevac paramedic, made the years of cooperation between their organizations official by signing an agreement to continue to share knowledge and training at a ceremony on Dec. 14, 2021. Credit: Courtesy.

With Hatzalah South Florida’s new system, the organization’s dispatchers will be able to:

  • Capitalize on AI technologies to dispatch multiple resources, including first responders and the nearest Hatzalah ambulance, instantly and simultaneously, without having to await action on the dispatcher’s part, ensuring the fastest possible response. Only those EMTs responding to the call are privy to information, maintaining the highest level of patient confidentiality.
  • Instantly determine the first responders closest to the scene of a medical emergency before dispatching them. Because the system integrates real-time traffic data, the most relevant first responders are determined not just by geographic proximity, but by who can arrive fastest based on real-time traffic conditions.
  • Pinpoint the exact location of cell-phone callers since 80 percent of emergency calls are made from mobile phones, and callers aren’t always certain where they are, especially in a car accident. People calling Hatzalah South Florida will be automatically geolocated by clicking on a text link that will provide their exact GPS coordinates to the CAD system.
  • Respond to text messages. At times, people needing emergency help are unable to speak because of an injury or because they’re in a dangerous situation where it’s prudent to remain inaudible to avoid detection. Hatzalah’s system enables the organization to respond and converse via text, automatically in multiple languages.
  • See live visual feeds of the scene. EMTs and paramedics using Hatzalah South Florida’s proprietary smartphone app can show dispatchers live visual streams from the scene of a medical emergency, enabling them to make crucial medical decisions and allocate resources, depending on the severity of the injury or illness.

“While we brought our technology to South Florida first, we’re amenable to sharing it with any American EMS organization or PSAP [public-safety answering point],” said Ido Rosenblat, MDA’s chief information officer. “We’re in the life-saving business, so if there’s any way we can help anyone else achieve that goal—whether it’s through sharing our experience or our technology—we’re onboard.”

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