South Africa's Medical Rescue International is using Eyretel E1000 digital voice recorders to change the way it manages large volumes of emergency calls at its centre in Johannesburg
Medical Rescue International (MRI) is a South African-owned company based in Johannesburg, which specialises in subscription-based emergency medical care and evacuation to a major medical centre for expert medical care should this be necessary.
It has bases in countries outside South Africa including, Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Lesotho, Mali and Nigeria. These bases are in the process of expanding as the need for affordable life saving emergency medical treatment steadily increases.
The MRI service utilises Rapid Response Medical Vehicles (RRVs), medical helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, whichever are deemed appropriate at the time. With a large number of intensive care registered nurses, registered paramedics and doctors, MRI employs the greatest number of staff of a private organisation in South Africa.
For MRI, the installation of the E1000 brings numerous benefits. Lifesaving information and instructions are often given over telephone lines and two-way radio. This information needs to be accurately stored and easily retrievable, to enable controllers to verify dispensed information in case of any discrepancies.
The E1000 allows calls to be recorded on a hard disk and two separate Digital Audio Tapes (DAT) which have the capacity to hold 1650 hours of taped calls each. As a call comes through, or goes out of MRI, it is streamed to the hard disk and then down to the DATs simultaneously. The E1000 is connected to the trunk side of MRI's telephone system, as opposed to the traditional extension connection. The product is also networked and works off a Windows 95-driven application.
Liz Ferguson, national operations manager of MRI, says: "We chose the E1000 because it is a feature-rich product allowing us to easily search for recorded calls and information. The clarity of all recorded calls is of the highest standard as they are stored digitally, and not in the old analogue format. We can customise a search to retrieve calls made at certain times, on certain days and more. If a staff member in our office in Cape Town needs to listen to a particular call, we can email that call in a WAV file."
Digital voice recorders are playing an increasingly crucial role in the efficient functioning of all emergency and call centres. Any organisation that gives out mission critical information to emergency workers in the field or members of the public, by telephone or radio, needs a voice recording system that captures the details accurately and efficiently. Often the advice or information dispensed is queried and a good quality recording is needed to insure the organisation against a legal claim or a formal inquiry.
Qualified personnel in the field and controllers in the crisis centre can be monitored to measure the professionalism and quality of service. Some communication centres have regular callers and their calls can be marked for ease of identification.
The implementation of cutting edge technologies like the Eyretel E1000 is vital to the efficient functioning of emergency services. Ferguson comments: "In an organisation like ours, the implementation and maintenance of new systems and technologies is a primary concern. For our patients to receive emergency assistance, our personnel must have a solid IT infrastructure available. The information that we dispense saves lives and our highly qualified staff need to know that the information they provide is recorded to safeguard themselves and their colleagues in the field."
The E1000 provides quick and easy access to all calls. MRI now has the ability to search for telephone calls, should they need to. A detailed index is created automatically whenever a call is recorded and MRI can use a number of different criteria ( date, time, channel and length of call ( to retrieve a call. The system is sophisticated and flexible enough to replay old calls while recording new ones.
Compiled by Will Garside
(c) Eyretel Ltd 1998