Information Systems Facilitate the UK Ambulance Service Transition towards an Omni-Channel Service


  • Alan Slater

    University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield HD13DH, UK



This paper represents a description of those ‘hidden’ policies supported by information systems that currently influence the direction of change within the UK ambulance service. When an ambulance service displays poor response times it may have reached a situation where demand exceeds supply regularly, then using ‘critical thinking’ the management should reconstruct their approach and focus exclusively on patient needs and the sources of appropriate help. The UK ambulance service has developed three strategic approaches; firstly, a single-channel strategy employing ambulance service staff only (‘hear and treat, or ‘see and treat’); secondly, a multi-channel strategy involving other NHS services (from call to on–scene then accident and emergency or direct to a hospital ward); and thirdly, a new omni-channel strategy where the patient is directed on a pathway from the ambulance service to a combination of other NHS or voluntary services. The key element in developing an omni-channel strategy is a secondary triage system, supported by a new database, which ensures patients are directed to a specialist service that could provide them with the most immediate help to meet their needs.  Some of these services to patients (for example, the Falls team) are provided by the ambulance service directly. Patients are directed to alternative services, identified in the database, this system allows the ambulance service to bypass accident and emergency and monitor the patient’s pathway from the initial call to the outcome. Initial small projects indicate that the omni-channel system reduces duplication of effort, improves system productivity, reduces cost and shortens patients call to outcome time.


Ambulance Service; Information systems; Omni-Channel; Critical Thinking; Restructuring


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How to Cite

Slater, A. (2024). Information Systems Facilitate the UK Ambulance Service Transition towards an Omni-Channel Service. Journal of Electronic & Information Systems, 6(2), 1–15.