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Case studies

North West Ambulance Service


North West Ambulance Service


Manchester, England


Organization type

Ambulance Service


Approximately 6,300 staff in more than 300 roles

The customer

North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) is based in Greater Manchester and serves more than 7 million people in North West England, covering approximately 5,400 square miles. The service receives approximately 1.3 million emergency calls and responds to more than 1 million incidents each year. On top of this, they make 1.5 million patient transport journeys every year for patients who require non-emergency transport to and from healthcare appointments.

NWAS plays an important role in the community, delivering the NHS 111 phone service for people in the region who need medical help or advice, and handling more than 1.5 million calls every year. They employ approximately 6,300 staff in more than 300 roles across three emergency operations centres, three area offices, five NHS 111 phone service sites, one support centre, two patient control rooms, two hazardous area response team (HART) buildings, and more than 100 ambulance stations.

The challenge

Before deploying the integration engine, there was a growing need for NWAS to share a broad range of information — such as ambulance numbers and locations — with its health service partners. The sharing of information would allow healthcare providers in North West England to better manage patients, draw better analytics, and increase efficiency within the organisations. However, there wasn’t a simple solution to do this internally.

The solution

NWAS implemented the Rhapsody Integration Engine in 2014 to facilitate data exchange and quickly discovered multiple uses for the interoperability platform, including:

Fleet tracking

NWAS has used Rhapsody to develop a unique integrated map called the Automatic Vehicle Location System (AVLS). The AVLS displays the live position of their ambulances to allow complete oversight of the fleet (see details on next page).

Real-time comprehensive view

A combined view of NWAS data and health organisation data improves real-time insights. With this data, providers in the region can better manage patients with a clear view into the number of available beds, volume of ambulances on site, number en route, the additional number of patients that they can expect at any given time, and more.

Sharing with NHS

NWAS provides a daily data feed to England’s National Health Service (NHS). This data covers particular incident types that the ambulatory service has dealt with over the last 24 hours. This allows the NHS to track and analyse incidents across the country to provide better healthcare.

An inside look at the Automatic Vehicle Location System (AVLS)

AVLS displays the live location of NWAS fleet vehicles. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: identify & capture data

NWAS’ mapping vendor supplies the data needed to locate vehicles in its fleet. However, the data is static and only shows a single resource. It does not display everything needed to manage a full fleet of ambulances, such as nearby resources or incidents

Step 2: process & store the data

Using Rhapsody, NWAS captures the data in real time from the map supplier, then processes and stores it in an SQL database

Step 3: create the map

Within the database, the latitude and longitude location is added and an SQL geometry type is created.

Step 4: put it all together

The data is then plotted and overlaid on the map. NWAS now has complete oversight of its fleet using a simple Rhapsody Route.

Ready to see how Rhapsody can help you connect data?

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