The Egyptian Ambulance Organization (EAO) needed to improve the timeliness and reliability of its emergency medical services. As part of this effort, EAO moved from paper-based vehicle fleet management processes to the Altair fleet management system from Softec International, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network. Now operations are streamlined, ambulance response times have dropped dramatically, and costs are reduced.
As part of the Ministry of Health, the Egyptian Ambulance Organization (EAO) coordinates and provides free emergency medical services to the country’s 83 million citizens. In addition to its headquarters in Cairo, the organization has seven regional offices, a fleet of almost 3,000 emergency vehicles, and a staff of 7,000 employees.
In the past, providing timely emergency services in Egypt has been difficult, and citizens sometimes had to wait an hour for an ambulance. Response times were slowed by traffic congestion, aging vehicles needing frequent maintenance, a high volume (up to 99 percent) of prank, abuse, and nonemergency phone calls to ambulance lines, and an inefficient manual system for managing vehicles and staff.
||Where an ambulance could have taken one hour or more before, the Egyptian Ambulance Organization has cut that down to five or six minutes. As an Egyptian citizen, I think that is tremendous.
Program Manager, Ministry of Communications
In recent years, EAO has taken steps to improve services and reduce response times. Rather than being centrally housed, ambulances are positioned near landmarks throughout the country from which they can quickly reach all destinations. EAO added 1,800 new vehicles with the latest emergency equipment, plus helicopters, planes, and boats to provide air and river service. Emergency calls are handled by a qualified call center that receives incoming calls, filters out abuse calls, and ensures that only real emergencies reach dispatchers.
But EAO still needed to update its fleet management processes as part of its goal to be the first fully automated Egyptian government agency. “Everything related to the ambulance fleet was done manually, with people compiling notes on paper,” says Mohamed Sami, Program Manager for the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, which helped EAO with the project. “It was hard to schedule vehicle shifts when we could not easily know which ambulances were out of service. And we could not generate the statistics that we need to get insights into our business and improve service. So we began looking for a technology solution to help us better manage our operations.”Solution
After evaluating various software solutions, EAO turned to Softec International
, creator of the Altair fleet management system, a flexible and scalable application built using the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
development system, the Microsoft .NET Framework
, and Microsoft SQL Server
data management software. Altair has a highly visual, multilingual interface to easily manage vehicles, crews, and other assets, and it integrates with GPS devices to track vehicles, routes, and driving speeds.
Softec helped EAO move to a system that provides useful real-time information about all aspects of the agency. “We created a database of resources, including vehicles, drivers, paramedics, strategic landmarks, spare parts, and so on,” says Nour Shawky, General Manager of Softec. “EAO can now generate reports on when vehicles are due for maintenance, how long repairs take, which spare parts are in inventory, and the costs associated with each vehicle. The agency can track all operations, including every move that vehicles make, and can also use Altair to manage staff scheduling.”
Softec offers Altair in two versions. The enterprise version is for companies that want to manage their own hardware and software onsite. With the cloud version, the application is hosted by a third-party data center that handles all hardware and application administration, and customers access the application over the Internet. EAO began with the enterprise version but moved to the hosted version to eliminate hardware maintenance costs. EAO put Altair into production in mid-2010, and its success has gotten attention. “Other Ministry agencies are considering Altair to manage their vehicle fleets,” says Sami. “Our success has led the ministry to recommend Microsoft technologies for all new EAO projects so that all EAO applications function well together.”Benefits
As part of its service improvements, EAO is using a fleet management system to streamline operations, reduce costs, and provide better emergency services to Egyptian citizens. Specifically, EAO has:
Improved emergency services. EAO can now ensure that all vehicles are kept in good working order, and it can monitor the status and availability of all ambulances and personnel to make the best choices about which vehicles and staff to put into service and where to locate them. This has dramatically improved response times. “Where an ambulance could have taken one hour or more before, the Egyptian Ambulance Organization has cut that down to five or six minutes,” says Sami. “As an Egyptian citizen, I think that is tremendous. During the recent revolution, EAO was fully prepared to accommodate the increased need for services.”
Streamlined operations. Moving from a manual information management system to a comprehensive electronic solution has significantly simplified the task of running the agency. “Our regional centers can easily access Altair to enter maintenance and operations data, and managers can access the system from home,” says Amer Shokry, Project Manager for the Egyptian Ambulance Organization. “We expect to add more than 1,000 vehicles and more than 20,000 employees in the next three years, and that would not be possible if we were still working on paper.”
Reduced costs. EAO believes that improved fleet management will result in substantial cost savings. “We have much better control of our fleet now,” says Ashraf Farouk, Manager, Central Information Technology Department for the Egyptian Ambulance Organization. “We can carefully track repairs, parts, and equipment to optimize inventory management. Choosing the best vehicles and positioning them strategically will also reduce our fuel consumption. And all of the information is available in real time through a computer dashboard that helps managers quickly make the best decisions.
For more information about other Microsoft customer successes, please visit: