Virtua's MedCom system allows dispatchers to respond before 911 call

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Virtua is now using a system called MedCom. (WPVI)

In an innovative use of computer technology, Virtua is now using a system called MedCom that finds patterns in data allowing dispatchers to send out mobile intensive care units before a 911 call is even made.

"It analyzes that data and creates a predictive model of where or when the next EMS call is going to happen," Vice President of Virtua Emergency Services Scott Kasper said.

Using information about past 911 calls, traffic, driver behavior and the types of roads in the area, the computer creates what looks a lot like a weather map.

"The darker the color the more likely the computer says that there is to be a 911 call in that area," Kasper said.

Now, instead of waiting at the station, Virtua's 13 mobile units covering Burlington and Camden counties can be dispatched ahead of time to the hotspots and respond more quickly when 911 calls do come in.

"More patients are getting hospital level of care in their living room, at a motor vehicle accident, right out in the community, ultimately that's what the data does for us," Virtua Executive Vice President Mike Kotzen said.

Virtua officials say the new system means better care and quicker response times for the sick and injured and it may already be saving lives.

Just a couple weeks ago, an advanced life support crew cleared one call, but stayed in the area based on MedCom's analysis. That crew was able to respond in less than two minutes when a man nearby was having a massive heart attack.

Virtua began using the MedCom system full-time in January and managers believe it's making its entire emergency medical response system faster and more efficient.

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