Ottawa Paramedic Service to launch an improved call triage tool: Medical Priority Dispatch System

A Paramedic Services vehicle and ambulance parked outside of a Paramedic Services facility.

The Ottawa Paramedic Service will be implementing a new medical call triage tool for dispatching emergency medical responses. The Medical Priority Dispatch System launched overnight in the Ottawa Central Ambulance Communications Centre overnight on April 10, 2024, and will improve service to more than 1.2 million residents across Eastern Ontario, including Ottawa, the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry, and Cornwall.

MPDS is an internationally recognized medical call triage and decision support tool that improves the assignment of paramedics to the highest priority calls.

When calling 9-1-1 to request emergency medical assistance, individuals can expect to be asked more detailed questions than with the previous triage tool. These questions help emergency medical dispatchers gather specific information about a patient’s condition to make effective dispatch decisions. 

MPDS can successfully identify patients in life-threatening situations, such as a cardiac arrest, unconsciousness or a stroke, who require an immediate response. Patients who have a non-life-threatening presentation may receive a delayed response from paramedics. Delaying the response for some patients is safe and clinically appropriate.

By bringing MPDS to Ottawa in partnership with the Province of Ontario, the Ottawa Paramedic Service is improving service delivery to the community and easing pressure on emergency departments.

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