An app being developed by students could help to save countless lives in Mexico.
In Tijuana, 13 ambulances serve a city of almost 1.7 million people. They are run by Cruz Roja, of the Red Cross.
The ambulances are dispatched by radios but are not tracked in real time, making effective dispatching a challenge. This can slow down patients' access to emergency care at a time when they need it the most.
Students at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering are creating a mobile application that will change that.
The app will make it easier and faster for emergency medical crews to give lifesaving help where it is needed.
"That difference in minutes could be the difference between life and death," said Timothy Lam, a master's degree student working on the app.
With the app, the old GPS tracking system of the Cruz Roja ambulances will be replaced with newer technology.
"Right now they don't have any way to track their ambulances," said Mauricio Deoliveira, a professor in the Department of Engineering at UCSD. "They do all their dispatching by radio."
Dispatchers will be able to track the ambulances through the app so that they better understand which units are available and already at a call. Then they can choose the closest available unit to the emergency.
The app has been completed and is currently in a testing phase before full implementation.