EMS tech: how our team stays in touch across 3 time zones

Running an anytime-anywhere medical repatriation service is a logistical challenge – as you can probably imagine!

On any given day, the team here at EMS Air Ambulance & Medical Repatriation has to be ready to mobilise in minutes. And with offices in three countries and two continents, experts on call 24/7, and crews and vehicles running multiple transports across the world, our communication and organisational skills have to be perfect.

EMS tech

Enter… the EMS Air Ambulance & Medical Repatriation Virtual Office

One way we make that happen is by running a Virtual Office across our international network of response teams. This is a tool that came into its own during the lockdowns of 2020, but it’s also a key part of the ongoing framework we use for delivering super-fast, efficient repatriations for patients across the globe – especially in emergency situations.

EMS has three main offices (with further personnel in Germany and the UK):

  • Europe – our headquarters in the Netherlands, inside Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport
  • Gulf Region – a team based in Dubai, UAE, serving the Gulf and wider region
  • Central Asia – our newest international office, operating from Kabul, Afghanistan

Step into any of those offices and the first thing you’ll see is a widescreen television alongside the desk units. These are connected to webcams, which relay continuous livestreams of our colleagues via Microsoft Teams. Schiphol and Dubai stay in continuous contact, with Kabul dropping in whenever they need to.

“It actually feels like their office starts right at the end of our desk,” says Helma, one of our Netherlands-based team members. “When you look up, you can see them there doing their work and we can chat with each other like regular colleagues.

“Every morning we also get together for an operational meeting. We’ll get updates on the latest requests for transports, and repatriations that are happening now or about to start. We’ll also share our to-dos, discuss logistics, and so on. It works perfectly.”

Using tech to make medical repatriations even better

Operating the live-link isn’t about deploying technology for the sake of it. It’s helping us to improve the speed, efficiency and quality of ambulance transports for our customers around the world.

“Quick, clear communication is something we really prize here at EMS,” explains CEO Gerrit Vrieze. “Having an always-on virtual office helps us do that.

“We can discuss things instantly with each other, and pool resources and expertise across the international teams. We all know exactly what’s happening with ongoing transports in the different countries at any point in time.

“We’re also using the system to drive down waiting times for patients. Most medical transports need to happen very quickly, with multiple steps and decisions to reach as the information flows in and the journeys get underway. You don’t want any barriers or obstacles coming between a patient and their hospital destination – especially in a medical emergency – and the livestream is one of the ways that EMS ensures that everything here runs like clockwork, from the first phone call to the final handover.”

Contact us

If you’re looking into medical repatriation for a colleague or loved one – or if you’re interested in establishing a repatriation partner for your organisation or charity – drop us a line and we’ll be delighted to tell you more about the service. You can call the team direct on +44 20 4586 1000. Alternatively, send us an email, or message us on WhatsApp. We’ll be back in touch with you ASAP.

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