Health Hour

Center to Launch App-Based Emergency Service Across The Country

The center government has announced the launch of a mobile app-based service to ensure timely availability of emergency ambulances, at a minimal cost. The center has taken this decision after acknowledging the delay in arrival of the government ambulances, which are under-equipped and inaccessible in the rural areas.

The government has planned to simplify the process via three steps.

In the first step, the app will serve as an aggregator, on which the private ambulances owners will arrive the moment any patient books them on the app.

In the second step, patients will make the payments at the time of booking, and payment to the drivers and para medics inside the ambulance will be made by the owner of the vehicle.

While the third step will involve a call center, which will be setup to assist patients in bookings and other services through a toll free number.

This method has been mainly devised by the Union ministry of health and family welfare to reach out to a number of patients who lose their lives due to the late arrival of government ambulances.

Some start-ups like MUrgency led by Shweta Mangal, Ziqitza and a few others are already operating on this model, and the results have been decent.

They have successfully bridged the gap between emergency medical aid and the people in need of the same.

The center has been buying ambulances and making payments to the support staff, under the national health mission so far. This has made the service very expensive. According to Sweta Mangal, the Director of MUrgency, India is still not at par with the emergency medical procedures of developed countries, and needs a lot of upgrading to ensure the safety of people, requiring quick medical aid.

“We may not be able to upgrade everything at once in a big country like India. But, with proper planning and support of trained manpower, we can definitely turn things around within a short span of time,” she said.

In a bid to standardize the services, the ministry will give strict specifications to the ambulance owners and each vehicle will need to follow the guidelines.

Dr Gurneet Singh Sawhney, a Mumbai-based Neurosurgeon, said that they will need to see how this technology takes off, because many people in the rural and semi-rural areas may still not be able to access it, if they don’t have a mobile phone.

“For those who do have a mobile phone, how smooth will the user interface be? Will it really work as professionally as the other aggregators? We’ll need to see,” he added.

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