“Math can save lives”

Jaap-Frank Ponstein, Director of Ambulance Amsterdam, and Prof. Dr. Rob van der Mei of CWI (Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica – the Netherlands’ national research institute for mathematics and computer science), discussed how data improved ambulance services in Amsterdam. Ahti organized the ahti update “Smart logistics in healthcare” on Thursday, September 14, 2017.


Work smarter, not harder

Jaap-Frank Ponstein described the latest developments in the Amsterdam ambulance market:

  • A rapidly increased demand for ambulances (20% growth over three years)
  • Higher demands from society (in 95% of cases, the ambulance should be present within 15 minutes)
  • Delivering services is becoming increasingly complex (busy roads, events in Amsterdam, rearrangement of specialisms between hospitals, availability of staff).

In this situation, working smarter, not harder, is the solution. By using data in a smart way, Ambulance Amsterdam can keep delivering services at the same level of quality, without extra costs.

Big data in care

Rob van der Mei described a project that shows that ambulances can be scheduled smarter by using fundamental mathematics: math can save lives. Together with the startup Stokhos, that resulted from the project, CWI  developed a model that proactively directs ambulances to the best locations. This increases the chance of getting to the patient within set time limits. This model was applied to ambulance services in Flevoland, then refined and implemented. This system allowed for a big improvement in response time by using a limited number of proactive relocations, based on advice from the model.


Using data to improve care services

Translating available data to an optimal allocation of care (services, people) is an issue with multiple organizations. It is possible to save lives and save money, but how? There were questions related to planning of activities around GPs, logistics of home care workers as well as how to decide what is the optimal treatment in acute care. In this way, various parties could connect and explore together how a mathematical approach of data can solve care issues.


Transforming healthcare together

Ahti updates is a monthly recurring event aimed at sharing innovations in care that emerge from collaboration between science, entrepreneurs and/or civil society (care) organizations. The next ahti update is on Thursday, October 19, 2017 at the AHTC.


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