Optima keeps restructuring Danish ambulance system

Optima has landed a further $1m deal with the Danish government thanks to its new unique emergency services software that can predict where the next emergency will occur and what ambulance vehicle is the closest at the time of the incident.Denmark was the first government to completely remodel its ambulance services using what is called predictive modeling software from Optima in 2006.

Optima has landed a further $1m deal with the Danish government thanks to its new unique emergency services software that can predict where the next emergency will occur and what ambulance vehicle is the closest at the time of the incident.

Denmark was the first government to completely remodel its ambulance services using what is called predictive modeling software from Optima in 2006.

The ‘predict’ software, which has been locally implemented by St John last year, can develop and test a range of evidence-based simulations. It is now used in six countries including New Zealand, Australia, the US, Canada and Denmark.

The company, which has an annual turnover of $4 milliom, had a 60% growth in revenues over the past two years and it currently has over $11m in the sales pipeline.

It has recently developed new software called ‘live’, which will be implemented in Copenhagen by early 2011. It is a dynamic tool used by dispatchers for a more efficient ambulance vehicle management.

Chris Mackay, Optima chief executive, told the National Business Review the predictive software was the original product developed by the company to simulate ‘what if’ scenarios based on key performance indicators such as response times, vehicle types, vehicle coverage, shift rosters, post locations and population changes.

“The tool allows them to simulate real-life scenarios and can try them out before physically act on them.”

Ambulance organisation can make evidence-based strategic decisions before time, effort, resources and real money is spent on changing the operation.

“’Predict’ is a tool that a strategic planner would use in the back office somewhere, ‘live’ is what dispatchers would use when trying to determine where they should locate the available ambulances right at this point of time.

“Take Auckland city for example, the dispatcher would geographically see all the streets and roads, the harbour bridge, the water and they would see where all the ambulances are; they would be colour-coded depending which ones are available, which ones are tied up in an emergency, which ones are having a lunch break and which ones are moving from one location to another.

“And around each vehicles, particularly the available ones, there is a little bubble which would show how far that ambulance would move in a settlement of time frame.”

To predict where and when the calls would be coming from the 10-year-old company uses complex mathematics to analyse an emergency service’s call data for the past two to four years.

“Put simply, we use complex mathematics to look at where calls historically come from, when and where the peak loads are, what the traffic is likely to be, consider the location and availability of all ambulances, and make recommendations to dispatchers where to locate their ambulances for the best possible response time.

“In other words, we can predict where the next incident will be and move an ambulance there so they can get there faster when the call comes in.”Mr Mackay said the company’s software helps manage ambulance vehicles, which can each cost more up $1m annually to run, more effectively. It can also extend its life span from five to six or more years.

“Our live and predict software programmes help emergency medical service dispatchers and operations personnel gain insight into ways to reduce response times and deploy ambulances and other resources more efficiently.”

Each software system costs between $400,000 and $500,000 in local currency.