Emergency Medical Services (EMS) calls during COVID-19: Early lessons learned for systems planning (A narrative review)
journal contributionposted on 21.06.2022, 01:44 authored by Alaa Al Amiry, Brian MaguireBrian Maguire
Background: Over the course of the COVID-19 progress, reports from many locations around the world indicated major increases in EMS call volume, which imposed great pressure on EMS dispatch centers (EMSDC) globally. No studies yet have been done to examine this phenomenon. Objective: This paper examines the interrelated effects of the unprecedented global increase of EMS call, the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on responding to non-COVID-19 emergencies, and the concurrent effects of having overwhelmed dispatch centers. It tries to explain the current evidence of the bottleneck of EMS calls during the early phase of the worldwide pandemic. Eligibility Criteria: We examine the numbers of EMS calls internationally between March and June 2020, derived from published literature and news media. Only articles in English were selected, with certain keywords related to EMS calls, ambulance delay, stroke and cardiac arrest. Source of Evidence: Google Scholar was the main searching source. Results: After applying the selection criteria, a total of 29 citations were chosen, and a pattern of knowledge resulted in the emergence of five themes: EMS calls during COVID-19, Reduced EMS operator response time, Ambulance response delays, Collateral mortality and morbidity among non-COVID-19 cases, and Total ambulance call time. Conclusion: Over the course of COVID-19 progress, there was a global phenomenon of exponential increases in EMS calls, which is expected to impose a great pressure on EMS dispatch centers. Several factors contributing to the bottleneck of EMS calls are identified and explained.