‘Real-time bed availability info, call centre for COVID management needed’

Citizens waiting at a free COVID-19 testing facility at a fever hospital in Hyderabad on Monday, May 10, 2021.   | Photo Credit: RAMAKRISHNA G

A State-wide real-time bed availability Dashboard, along with a call centre for COVID triage (sorting) with operators routing the patients based on a simple questionnaire, will enormously reduce the pressure on healthcare workers and unclutter the overcrowded healthcare facilities, said Infection Control Academy of India president B. Ranga Reddy.

The triage can identify patients on the basis of various categories — those who don’t need hospitalisation but can be under observation and home care, those who need isolation under supervision, those who need oxygen beds and those who need ventilator beds, he said, in a communication to Minister for IT, Municipal Administration and Urban Development K.T. Rama Rao on Monday.

Dr. Reddy, also a honorary professor of School of Medical Sciences, University of Hyderabad (UoH), said the current dashboard ( is static and doesn’t support either the patients or decision makers. “Fear and anxiety are driving people to make irrational decisions, further escalating the mass hysteria at the moment. While there are certain constraints with bed capacity, medicines etc, it is amplified due to lack of real-time information and ambiguity bringing negative publicity,” he pointed out.

The pandemic has thrown up an opportunity for a multi-pronged approach for its containment and mitigation where involving the IT sector and other non-healthcare sector can play a vital role. The behaviour of the virus is directly proportional to the actions of people, the executive and the administration, said Dr. Reddy.

Though most people are getting to practice and embrace COVID-appropriate behavior, the government can also initiate steps to stem the second wave and stabilise lives and livelihoods. In this context, the “state-wide real-time dashboard” on availability of beds by category and geography can be one decisive step to reduce unnecessary anxiety among population about their care, reduce unnecessary rounds by patients and their relatives to multiple hospitals/ clinics increasing the transmission risk, improve utilisation of available beds besides giving the administration a real time picture and moderate allocation of resources, he explained.

Organisations like HYSEA, NASSCOM, CII, FICCI, SCSC, TFMC and many multinational companies like Google, Microsoft, Cognizant etc. could be roped in coordinate such an initiative. The Infection Control Academy (www.ifcai.in) is ready to assist along with its partnering organisations like the Indian Institute of Public Health, University of Hyderabad, and UNICEF, he added.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 11:38:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/real-time-bed-availability-info-call-centre-needed/article34528180.ece

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