About a quarter of the District’s 911 medical responses are to events that don’t require emergency services and can be treated in primary and urgent care clinics. These events often end up crowding the emergency room and can increase ambulance response times. To address this problem, nurses were placed directly in the 911 call center. The goal is to make sure all callers in need of an ambulance received one, and those who don’t, can speak with the nurse and arrange transportation to primary or urgent care without an ambulance. Through a randomized control trial, we are testing whether the program leads to improved use of emergency rooms, primary and urgent care, 911, ambulances, and prescription drugs.
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