Abstract for: Modeling the Dynamics of an Urban Emergency Medical Services System

Emergency medical services (EMS) are essential to the delivery of on-demand urgent medical care to patients. The major challenge commonly encountered by EMS agencies is the effective allocation of resources, specifically ambulances and paramedics, such that coverage is sufficient and response times are minimized. Compounding the complexity is the growth and shift of populations which impact EMS demand. In this study, the system dynamics methodology was applied in order to develop a model, using industry data, that represents an urban EMS system. Utilizing this model, the relationship between call request demand and resource capacity was analyzed. A two-scenario analysis was conducted to observe the behavior of the model to a changing number of ambulances and population. A tipping point where continued population growth causes the system to reach peak capacity was identified. The resulting model will support EMS managers and dispatchers with demand planning and policy development.