The Lee County Department of Public Safety, Emergency Medical Services, or LCEMS, has grown tremendously within the past few years and is starting to expand its fleet of ambulances.
This growth has led to difficult decisions, including where to place new facilities, where to position ambulances and how to make adjustments when faced with budgetary challenges. All of these require a great deal of resources and time. Any wrong decisions can be costly and can negatively impact the department’s goal of less than nine minutes response time 90 per cent of the time.
The LCEMS leadership had to either rely on intuition or identify a way to make evidence-based decisions.
LCEMS decided to take the evidence-based decision route by deploying Optima Predict during a time in which the county was going through substantial budgetary challenges. Using Optima Predict, LCEMS made better decisions about ambulance standby locations, staffing patterns and station development, resulting in an improved department model.
The Optima Predict model, adopted as the department plan, allowed the department to decrease unit hours by 17,520 annually (two 24 hour units) with no negative impact on response time performance. The adoption of the model also demonstrated a strong return on investment, with net savings in excess of $900,000 annually. Optima Predict allowed the department to defend the unit hour and budget reductions and demonstrate no response time impact, which is important when managing difficult political issues associated with a perception of decreased availability.
After the implementation of Optima Predict, LCEMS was also able to decrease average response time by 11 seconds which was a 3 percent improvement in response performance, despite an increase of 5.8 per cent in incident volume through system deployment and location improvements.
In addition, Lee County improved response time to their highest priority incidents, EMD delta/echo calls, by more than 2 per cent in conjunction with an increase in that volume of more than 5 per cent.
Today, when faced with both internal and external suggestions for change, the department is able to deploy Optima Predict and run proposed scenarios. This has enabled the department to educate department leaders, elected leaders and the general public on the response time impacts of the proposed changes.