Apparent patterns in ambulance response time in Timişoara
Introduction: The demand for efficient and effective emergency health care is increasingly
challenging and guaranteeing a prompt response in the ambulance services is an important
factor for favorable outcomes in time-critical situations. This paper aims at exploring
explanatory factors for ambulance response time as a performance metric, in the context of the
two dispatch centers in Timişoara at present. Material and methods: Four area quarters were
delimited in the city geographical territory, based on natural barriers and large crossover roads.
These zones were further considered for analysis of the call data over the year 2018, in a crosssectional study design. The data collected by the Ambulance Service of Timis County on all
solved cases comprised the city streets with: (a) the total number of calls and the four-level
emergency number of calls for each; (b) minimum, maximum, and average response time.
Additionally, for each street, the geographical coordinates (latitude and longitude) were
approximated and the distance to the corresponding dispatch center was calculated based on
the equirectangular approximation. Descriptive statistics and a multi-variable GLM model were
applied for data analysis, with further Bonferroni adjustments for post-hoc comparisons. Results:
Although the number of calls and the patterns of priority were indistinctive within the four
zones, we found significant differences between the response times in the northern and
southern zones, with differences of up to 3 minutes in the estimated arrival time. Statistically
significant area-related differences were observed in the predictive factors for the response time:
distance to the dispatch center and emergency code. Conclusion: A supplementary dispatch center
in the northern area would help improving the ambulance time to arrival and compensating the
differences between North and South of Timişoara.