Pune to monitor bed shortage in hospitals

Data will be uploaded on iHealWell app

July 26, 2020 11:02 pm | Updated 11:02 pm IST - Pune

In an effort to reduce Pune’s COVID-19 case fatality rate and address the alleged shortage of beds, the Pune civic body has begun clinically monitoring hospitals.

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has directed private hospitals to install an app called iHealWell Patient Care and update it regularly with data on all their critical patients.

Speaking to The Hindu , Rubal Agarwal, additional municipal commissioner, PMC, said hospitals would be required to mandatorily update details on the status of beds available, the number of critical patients occupying those beds, and the treatment being administered to them on the iHealWell digital platform.

Updates in four hours

“The details are to be updated every four hours. Teams from the civic body will be conducting random checks at hospitals to ensure the details were being regularly updated on the software,” Ms. Agarwal said, adding that 20 private hospitals had already downloaded the civic body’s clinical monitoring app. She said all hospital staff are to be trained on how to use the app, while the details of all critical patients would be fed into it.

“For this app to be effective, hospital staff have been instructed to capture at least one reading per shift for all critical patients. This would help us better understand the clinical outcome trends in real time,” Ms. Agarwal said.

With Pune witnessing an average daily surge of 1,200 cases over the past fortnight, the administration has been scrambling to ramp up the overstretched medical infrastructure.

A rash of complaints from citizens have been directed against the allegedly poor planning and foresight of the district administration in recent weeks regarding the alleged unavailability of intensive care unit (ICU) or oxygen beds in the city’s major hospitals. To make matters worse, there have been cases of desperate citizens seeking treatment, but being turned away by hospitals owing to lack of beds, resulting in the death of a patient on occasion.

Refuting suggestions of an actual shortage in critical care beds, Ms. Agarwal said, “It has been observed that 30% of the beds meant for critical care patients are being occupied by persons with mild symptoms. This has resulted in critically ill patients not receiving adequate treatment on time. We are determined to eliminate these problems and this digital platform will help us in resolving it.”

As per the PMC’s own projected estimates, the city’s total case tally is likely to exceed 2.03 lakh cases by the end of August, with 91,000 active cases.

Massive shortfall

The civic body’s data further projects a shortfall of 652 oxygen beds, 848 ICU beds and 374 ventilator beds by July-end itself.

The city’s active case tally now stands at over 17,700, which is projected to rise to 27,000 by the end of the month. The city has seen more than 1,200 COVID-19 related deaths in the last four months, while nearly 700 patients are reportedly in a critical condition.

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