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The Slovak Emergency Medical Rescue Service Operational Centre (ZZS SR OC) is digitizing its rescue services support, with ALVAO help

The ZZS SR OC handles emergency medical service calls. In addition, it manages, coordinates and evaluates the emergency medical service in order to ensure its ongoing availability and continuity. They manage 8 regional operational centres and currently coordinate activities for a fleet of 321 rescue vehicles and 7 emergency medical service helicopters.

With so many locations and facilities, they had to find the right tool to unify records of assets and requests. ‘At the ZZS SR OC, we provide specific ICT equipment serving communication, navigation, and location monitoring of rescue vehicles. We encompass 14 legal entities, including 2 public-sector. This makes management rather complicated, so we needed one highly capable system for logging and collecting issues,’ says Marián Podmajerský, ICT Head at ZZS SR OC.

The OC had been facing numerous problems. The IT department was getting a great many requests by phone as well as by email. They did not have an overview of how many were active at any given time, there was no internal SLA in place and so some requests went missing or remained unresolved. It was very difficult for people to account for their workload – so as to support they're asking for new reinforcements to the team or getting new equipment. There were also process difficulties with staff coming in or leaving the team. ‘It used to be all down to the head of the department, and so things would not always be completely ready in time for the arrival of a new employee, because it involved coordinating multiple activities and resolvers.’

As part of asset management, they had to address looking after a lot of IT equipment, making it almost impossible to reliably monitor the need for kit renewal and relevant warranty periods.

As part of a global initiative from the World Health Organization to digitize emergency services, the ZZS SR focused attention on its operational vehicle fleet. As a state organization, they needed to keep their data within the territory of the Slovak Republic, so they use a private Azure Stack.

The ZZS SR OC brought in systems for requests and equipment records management, specifically ALVAO Service Desk and ALVAO Asset Management. Thereafter, Alvao was the winner of the Microsoft Awards 2021 in the Community Response Award category with this case study.

‘Thanks to Asset Management, we can accurately record data and then flexibly respond to situations as they arise,’ – Marián Podmajerský.

In addition to IT equipment, the asset register also includes emergency rescue vehicles, walkie-talkies and, more recently, GPS devices, which paid off especially this and last year, when the rescue services were stretched to the utmost and there was no time to hunt around for equipment. ‘We focused primarily on the assets we provide to rescuers in the field. In ambulances, we navigate using smartphones, behind glass. Due to the large number of locations, their installation is quite problematic, as is the asset tracking. Navigation devices in particular are error-prone, the service life also depends on the weather and so it mattered greatly to us to have an overview, which of them are still under warranty and which are not. Thanks to Asset Management, we are able to accurately record data and then flexibly respond to situations as they arise,’ comments Marián Podmajerský.

Asset Management (benefits of ITAM) currently records the company’s own assets, but over time they want to include all leased assets in their records.

The solution had to be moved to the cloud (Microsoft Azure SaaS) so that the customer would have time for strategic tasks without worrying about infrastructure. ‘We see the advantages in greater service availability. Access from the Internet is not limited to the organization’s infrastructure and is user-friendly as regards basic functionality when working from any end-user device (workstation, laptop, tablet, smartphone). Moreover, we save on licenses, especially MS SQL. We pay for what we use. We also have quick access to new functions, hotfixes and the like.’

The system was then extended across all branches and organizational units, from IT through to Asset Administration, which deals with the vehicles and various electrical equipment.

‘Web inventory allows us to easily check on entrusted assets, both internal and external. In addition, it has shortened the whole process from several weeks to a few days’, - Marián Podmajerský.

Another significant benefit he sees is the exceptional web inventory system, which can shorten the inventory from several weeks to a few days. Users get advisory notification by email of an asset inventory being done. They then get to see all their entrusted property, which they simply confirm, on a web portal. Inventory via email has thus solved the major problem experienced with a large number of branches and ‘out of office’ equipment.

‘We anticipate web inventory will simplify our being on top of entrusted assets, both our own and external. They are all centrally recorded, with live updates (online), and can be linked to an applicant’s requirements. The second advantage lies in the recording of property that is not handled as an accounting item, but issued for use and treated as IT asset. Last but not least, we are able to present to each user an overall summary of what they should have ready for inspection and what has been entrusted for their use.’

Requests from emergency vehicles are handled through the Service Desk, where bespoke forms have been set up that exactly match the needs of the organization. Thanks to the web application, they have easy access to the system through devices in the vehicle itself (tablets, smartphones). The onboarding and departure of employees has also been significantly facilitated and automated.

‘ALVAO is very well thought out as a product. In addition, I like the fact that the whole concept does not focus just on the product, but rather on the processes. It helps me a lot in managing my department,’ – Marián Podmajerský.

Podmajerský considers the automatic ‘break-down’ of the top-level Service Desk ticket into several smaller subsidiary steps as one of the biggest benefits of the system, in terms of management. He finds just as useful the ability to monitor SLA fulfilment, reaction times, detailed recording of actions and of responses. Integration with Microsoft Power BI makes it possible to track the fulfilment of employee targets and also provides an overview of the overall behaviour of all Service Desk users.

ZZS SR workers greatly appreciate how interconnected both systems are. Thanks to Asset Management, they know what vehicles they are responsible for, where they are, how they are equipped and so can meet the regular mandatory validation appraisals of the respective devices. Within the Service Desk comes the commensurate support function for rescue vehicle crews. The vehicle crews can report faults with their control units and raise requests to have vehicles fitted out with equipment. ‘ALVAO is very well thought out as a product. In addition, I like the fact that the whole concept does not focus just on the product, but rather on the processes. It helps me a lot in managing my department,’ Marián Podmajerský concludes.


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