United Hatzalah is a non-profit, non-governmental volunteer emergency medical first response organization, using thousands of medics, paramedics and doctors from all socio-economic and religious sectors to provide fast and free medical first response throughout Israel.
Focus: Emergency Rapid Response
Geographic Area of Impact: Worldwide
Model: Leveraged Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 207,000 (2013)
Annual Budget: US $7 million (2013)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 25%
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Israel, 2010
Due to the time interval between ambulance dispatch and effective intervention in true medical emergencies, people die unnecessarily. To fill this gap, United Hatzalah conceived and established an emergency medical network using local emergency medical services volunteers to significantly shorten response times within communities. Rather than accept the premise that life-saving resources must come from ambulances via a fixed dispatch station, United Hatzalah utilizes a GPS co-location dispatch technology in its LifeCompass Command Centre to identify the most qualified medical volunteer closest to an emergency scene via a mobile device platform.
Trained civilian volunteers throughout communities now provide a distributed network of emergency first responders who regularly leave their personal pursuits to provide emergency medical response. Their devotion, along with a fleet of ambucycles (medically equipped motorcycles and mopeds) that nimbly negotiate traffic, provides lifesaving aid in the initial moments of an emergency while an ambulance is en route.
Innovation and Activities
United Hatzalah activates thousands of highly trained volunteers who carry their advanced GPS LifeCompass communication and emergency medical equipment, 24 hours a day. Volunteers are certified as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), paramedics or doctors, who undergo rigorous and continuous education courses. Within seconds from dispatch, the closest volunteers are located and are on their way, filling the gap between an emergency and the arrival of an ambulance.
To expedite emergency response, the organization created the LifeCompass Command Centre to dispatch service, and developed proprietary software integrating the latest GPS tracking technology. The system uses an algorithm to locate and alert the closest qualified medical volunteers, and ambucycles to minimize travel time through traffic. This combination of three factors dramatically reduces response time.
In Israel, United Hatzalah medics have responded to calls affecting over 207,000 people (about 550 calls a day) serving tens of thousands each year; over 25% of these calls were considered life threatening. United Hatzalah is set to increase its forces to 3,000 volunteers, providing countrywide coverage with an optimal response time of 90 seconds (current time is 2-4 minutes). United Hatzalah also establishes, trains and guides Hatzalah organizations for worldwide deployment of its transformative technology model. In 2011, it helped establish Hatzalah of Brazil and in Panama, and held exploratory discussions with groups from Finland, India and Bulgaria in 2012.
Eli Beer was born in Israel and witnessed his first terror attack at the age of seven. This traumatic experience and a desire to help save people encouraged him to become a volunteer medic. Involved in emergency medical first response in Israel since 1988, he has responded to civil, wartime and terror incidents. He currently serves as Founder and President of United Hatzalah, and lectures to health organizations worldwide on the importance of receiving medical care within the first minutes of an incident by using a volunteer network. He is an expert in cohesive and integrated responses to mass casualty incidents and a pioneer in the field of GPS-based technology for medical response. His awards include: the New York Senate Award (2012); Young Global Leader (2012); and, the Israel Presidential Award (2011).
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