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Superior North EMS’ new dispatch system set for implementation

By CJ Goater Jan 15, 2024 | 11:33 AM

Superior North EMS Ambulance - Acadia Broadcasting File Photo

A new EMS dispatch system implemented by the province is set to be adopted by Superior North EMS on January 24. The adoption of the new system was announced during  SNEMS’ Work Plan Annual Update at city council at the end of last October.

The new system, called the Medical Priority Dispatch System is an internationally used patient triage system.

It will change how calls are prioritized based on their urgency while providing better information to responding paramedics and improving response times for true emergencies.

When the new system is implemented, dispatchers will ask different questions than are currently in place to gather more detailed information about a patient. The new information will allow for a more effective triage to prioritize emergency medical situations. The new system also considers EMS resources, to make sure paramedics consistently respond to the most urgent calls first.

“This new system has helped prioritize EMS calls in five other areas of Ontario,” said Shane Muir, Chief of Superior North EMS. “These areas have seen paramedics respond faster to more urgent calls, providing better response times to those who need us the most. We believe this will also be the case for our paramedics in Thunder Bay and the district.”

The new model will lower the number of calls that are over-prioritized in the current system, reducing the number of paramedic resources being sent out of their community to respond to situations that are not urgent.

Requests for ambulance service that are triaged as low priority will only be dispatched when appropriate resources are available. The Ambulance Communication Officers will conduct follow-up calls to continue checking the patient’s status until paramedics arrive.

Superior North EMS services Thunder Bay and the District of Thunder Bay, from Upsala to Manitouwadge, and north to Armstrong.