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ambulance diversion, ambulance transports, community based, emergency departments, emergency medical services, EMSystem, public health



  1. Barthell, Edward N.
  2. Foldy, Seth L.
  3. Pemble, Kim R.
  4. Felton, Christopher W.
  5. Greischar, Patrick J.
  6. Pirrallo, Ronald G.
  7. Bazan, William J.


Hospital overcrowding and diversion of ambulances from emergency departments are being recognized as increasing problems in the health care system. This article, a descriptive narrative, examines the various factors contributing to the problem and describes how collaborative approaches to public health issues can be applied. It describes Milwaukee's experience with a collaborative approach. The use of a technological tool to assist with tracking and reporting on ambulance diversion and emergency department overload is explained, and data are provided to show the impact of various methods to blunt the impact of the flu season on diversion frequency. The article encourages use of similar collaborative approaches and Internet-based technology to address other public health problems.