Identifying and minimizing abuse of emergency call center services through technology

Oren Blushtein, Maya Siman-Tov, Racheli Magnezi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: To identify and minimize unnecessary calls to emergency numbers and to assess the effectiveness of call-tracking technology in addressing the problem. Methods: A retrospective, interventional study was conducted of all emergency calls made to Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel's national Emergency Medicine Service (EMS) during years 2012–2016. In 2015 a tiered technological intervention was developed and implemented by MDA. The call-tracking technology self-identified harassment calls by call duration and frequency. The system automatically diverted harassing calls to a non-emergency number system in order not to lose any call. The rates of harassment calls were analyzed by shift, region, and season. Trends were compared before and after intervention. Results: During the years 2012–2016, 53,527 shifts took place, and 8.2% (4277) of shifts identified as receiving incoming harassment calls. The evening shift (11.5%), the Jerusalem region (16.9%), and the summer season (9.6%) were most prone to harassment calls. After implementing an intervention using specialized call-tracking technology, the prevalence of harassment calls decreased significantly (from 10.9% to 2.9% p < .001). The Jerusalem region showed the greatest decrease of 92% (from 26.5%–2.0% p < .001). Conclusions: MDA's call tracking technology has been shown to identify and minimize harassment calls and can be implemented by emergency organizations to reduce abuse of emergency call services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)916-919
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.


  • Call tracking
  • Emergency medical service
  • Harassment calls
  • Resources
  • Technology


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