In a medical emergency, precious time is wasted in finding a hospital with a vacant bed or in making rounds of blood banks in search of a matching blood group.
From January, such critical information may only be a phone call of text message away.
A new helpline, HERO- Helpline for Emergency Response Operations, will provide this information on the phone, via text messages on a mobile phone and on a website free of cost.
The 24-hour service will be operational as a pilot project in Sion Hospital.
“An automated registration counter will be set up at hospitals to generate information about patients being admitted and discharged immediately. Also, blood donated at blood banks will have unique barcodes to create a database of the units that are available for emergency cases,” said Aditya Patkar, head of a healthcare consultancy which along with the NGO, Armman, will update the information in real time for people to use.
In Phase 2, the project will be expanded to other city hospitals, both municipal and private, to create a complete emergency service, Patkar added.
The project is one of the many initiatives presented at the Putting Patients First Conference held at Nehru Centre on Wednesday to emphasise the need for including patients in discussions on cure and health care systems.
Another initiative, which has received a favourable response is a website www.indiahospitalbeds.org, started by Malad resident, Jerome Quadros, in June to provide information on the availability of hospital beds.
According to Quadros, the website, which has listed eight hospitals across Mumbai, receives 10,000 hits per month. “Such services may take time to gain response. But, compared to the complete lack of information during an emergency, such services are necessary in the city,” said Quadros, who is looking towards expanding the service to other cities like Chennai and Bangalore.