Strategies to Handle Increased Demand in the COVID-19 Crisis a Corona Telephone Hotline and a Web-based Self-triage System [post]

Theo Walther Jensen, Mathias Geldermann Holgersen, Mads Seit Jespersen, Stig Nikolaj Blomberg, Fredrik Folke, Freddy Knudsen Lippert, Helle Collatz Christensen
2020 unpublished
BackgroundIn emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increased need for contact withemergency medical services (EMS), and call volume might surpass capacity. Thus, the Copenhagen EMS in Denmark implemented a separate coronavirus hotline followed by a web-based self-triage system to reduce nonemergency call volume. The aim of this paper is to present the two measures implemented to handle the increased call volume to the Copenhagen EMSfromthose with mild or no relevant COVID-19
more » ... mptoms.MethodsThis is a cross sectional observational study monitoring call volume in the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic in accumulated callnumbers, compared to the equivalent numbers during one month from the year before (2019). A coronavirus hotline and web-based self-triage system arepresented in absolute numbers of users.ResultsIn the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic in Copenhagen, emergency medical dispatch centers were extensively overloaded with more than 10.800 calls, resulting in significantly prolonged queue time (mean time in minutes:12:02; CI: 11:55-12:09)) compared to 2019 (mean time in minutes02:23; CI: 02:22-02:25) and thereby limiting access to emergency assistance and triage for citizens. The introduction of the coronavirus hotline showed reduced call volume and queue time to the EMS. The web-based self-triage system was used more than 107.000 times. However, no correlation between call volume and the use of a web-based self-triage systemwas observed.ConclusionsCreating a coronavirus hotlinestaffed by healthcare personnelseemed to have an impact on call volume and potentially relieved the strain in resources, while the web-based self-triage system was widely used and could be further developed to reach itsfull potential. Other EMS organizations can implement these measures to enhance capacity in a future epidemic.
doi:10.21203/ fatcat:xvhrsorcnbg5hjp5mchacj7sjy