GPS, GPRS-based software being developed by techie to reach hospitals faster; trial on OMR

How many times has one seen an ambulance, sirens blaring, stuck at a busy junction while other drivers hesitate to make way? The government might be taking steps to create a green corridor for ambulances to address the issue, but a software professional has got into the act too, by initiating a project based on the Global Positioning System (GPS) and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) to ensure ambulances reach hospitals quickly during an emergency.

Anil Kumar, an employee of Tata Consultancy Services, whose brainchild the project, ‘FastArogya' is, has chosen Old Mahabalipuram Road to test his system. Heavy traffic on the stretch due to the presence of educational institutions and IT offices makes it an ideal locale, he says.

As part of the project, GPS will be installed in ambulances and signals will be sent to a central monitoring system in the police control room through GPRS. The position of the vehicle will then be plotted on a map. The ambulances will appear on the map as thumbnail icons. If the patient in the ambulance is in serious condition, the icon will show up as red, if she is moderately injured, the icon will be orange, and if the injury is not severe, it will be green. “Ambulance drivers will be able to download the software and fill in the details of the patient's ailment and status, which will then be reflected on the map,” said Mr. Kumar. “Cases of accidents will be given priority, since a victim cannot be treated in the ambulance unlike patients with heart problems who can be given initial treatment by paramedics,” said Mr. Kumar.

The location of the ambulance will be updated every 15 seconds, and if the ambulance shows signs of being stuck in one location for very long, the police can intervene and ensure it gets to move forward.

The same system can be used by hospitals as well. “Doctors can see the icons displayed on the map and make necessary arrangements in advance to treat the patient,” he said. Mr. Kumar has been working on this project for the last five months.

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Vivek NarayananJune 28, 2012

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