Andhra Pradesh

Needed: authentic information in real time

A COVID-19 patient waits in an ambulance for admission to the Government General Hospital in Vijayawada on Friday.   | Photo Credit: V. RAJU

On Thursday, Ch. Swamy, an employee of a CPSU, had to take his 65-year-old father who tested positive for COVID-19 to at least seven hospitals seeking a bed equipped with oxygen facility.

After about one hour of frantic search, Mr. Swamy could finally get his gasping father admitted in a notified private hospital.

“Shouldn’t there be a platform, or a portal that gives the right and updated information on beds available at the hospitals?” questions Mr. Swamy.

In the light of spurt in COVID-19 cases, and the consequent shortage in the supply of beds, oxygen and life-saving medicines, there is a growing demand for a detailed and a comprehensive portal, or App that provides accurate information in real time.

Role of IT

“Lack of authentic information is confusing people. The State government and the district administration are doing their best to provide it. But more authentic, updated and real time information is needed. That is where information technology comes in,” says Ravi Eswarapu, former president of IT Association of Andhra Pradesh (ITAAP).

“The State government has portals, but the information is not updated. At times, they do not function. What we need is a portal on the lines of the one provided by the Delhi government,” says E.A.S. Sarma, a former Union Secretary.

Industry experts say that the portal should give comprehensive real-time information.

Beds availability

“Apart from the summary and status of cases, it should focus on showing the availability of beds in each of the COVID-designated hospitals, with specific information on beds with oxygen supply, normal beds, ICU beds and beds with ventilator support. And, most importantly, it should be on real-time basis,” they say.

“The portal should also give details on testing labs and vaccine centres with phone numbers, addresses and timings for testing and vaccination. It should also provide numbers of telemedicine,” they say.

The experts also say that the portal will not be complete without an FAQ column, with answers for all COVID-related issue.

Initial focus

“Such a portal is the need of the hour. The IT sector can chip in if the State government, or the district administration desires so. It may be difficult to put such a comprehensive portal in place immediately. But it can be done in phases, with the initial focus being on availability of beds,” Sridhar Kosaraju, ITAAP president, told The Hindu.

“It can be worked out on a war-footing in partnership with the government, but private hospitals have to come forward to update the data in real time. They need not focus on rates. But, the entry and exit of patients should be updated on real-time basis. To ensure this, the government should appoint a nodal officer,” he said.

Experts in Fluentgrid, who have already set up a COVID Command Control Centre at the GVMC, said that the CCC could also be ramped up and integrated to the portal for better COVID care management.

BMC model

Mr. Sarma suggested that the State government could follow the system adopted by the Bombay Municipal Corporation, which initiated the reach-the-patient model by creating a patient-friendly system. Under this system, the BMC Commissioner was able to control the COVID-19 surge, he added.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 8:43:03 PM |

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